Furniture News #396

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BED SHOW | LIVING BEDROOM | TRADE SERVICES THE PRICE IS RIGHT? Negotiating the cost of living crisis Back in Action’s perfect posture Devonshire’s new directions #396 September 2022 YOURAWAKENBEST Sleep smart with Emma

FIRSTCLASSSERVICEACADEMYOFEXCELLENCE DEDICATEDCUSTOMERCARE YOURTWOMANDELIVERYPARTNER... CONTACTUS: HeadOffices(Cheshire,UnitedKingdom) RhenusHomeDeliveryUK,Unit7NewCheshireBusinessPark,WinchamLane,Northwich,CW96GG Tel:+44(0)7745540524 FIRSTCLASSSERVICEACADEMYOFEXCELLENCE DEDICATEDCUSTOMERCARE YOURTWOMANDELIVERYPARTNER... CONTACTUS: HeadOffices(Cheshire,UnitedKingdom) RhenusHomeDeliveryUK,Unit7NewCheshireBusinessPark,WinchamLane,Northwich,CW96GG Tel:+44(0)7745540524 FIRSTCLASSSERVICEACADEMYOFEXCELLENCE DEDICATEDCUSTOMERCARE YOURTWOMANDELIVERYPARTNER... CONTACTUS: HeadOffices(Cheshire,UnitedKingdom) RhenusHomeDeliveryUK,Unit7NewCheshireBusinessPark,WinchamLane,Northwich,CW96GG Tel:+44(0)7745540524 FIRSTCLASSSERVICEACADEMYOFEXCELLENCE DEDICATEDCUSTOMERCARE YOURTWOMANDELIVERYPARTNER... CONTACTUS: HeadOffices(Cheshire,UnitedKingdom) RhenusHomeDeliveryUK,Unit7NewCheshireBusinessPark,WinchamLane,Northwich,CW96GG Tel:+44(0)7745540524

Paul Farley

“We regret to inform you that we are having to adjust our prices …” Few notifications are more deflating than a price hike, and they’re becoming unpleasantly commonplace. Yes, the reasoning behind them may be sound, but each heralds a fresh headache for allAtconcerned.aB2Blevel, we feel the pain keenly. Our goods and services are modelled on margins, and they’re taking quite the beating. For the consumer, the impact is less tangible – unless they’ve been comparing prices MoM for that new sofa they’re after, it’s unlikely they’ll notice an increase – but with so many essentials competing for their spend, it definitely feels like a tougher sell. This month, we’re exploring the impact of those price rises across the trade. Rather than delving into the reasons behind them, we’re looking at how suppliers and retailers might best negotiate the coming months. Given the sheer scale of the cost of living crisis around us, should your business absorb any further price rises, or pass them on? Can consumers be encouraged to pay more for furniture – or would it be suicidal even to ask? The range of views is fascinating. In his column on p87, marketing expert Matt Brown warns against going in too hard – “aggressive sales tactics will land as tone-deaf with customers who are already feeling the pinch” – and urges retailers to instead make more of their existing customers.

When was the last time you bought something simply because it was heavily discounted – without thinking about whether its ‘anchor price’ was anything but just Whateverthat?the right path may be, it’s worth noting that no-one recommends slashing prices or going in for the hard sell. Turn to p90 to discover some of the trade’s biggest sales turn-offs, from the ill-informed to the pushy, and everything in between. A measured reaction to the current crisis will pay dividends. Pricing aside, in this month’s issue you’ll also find store insight from Bridgman (p14) and Back in Action (p10), advice on Christmas marketing (p82) and payment solutions (p85), and interviews with Fairway Furniture’s Peter Harding (p20) and Devonshire’s Nicolle Hockin (p16) – and on top of that, there’s our annual Bed Buyer supplement, in which you’ll find a plethora of profiles, product and predictions, and our essential guide to the NBF Bed Show. If you didn’t receive the supplement, check out our bed industry bible– and don’t forget to follow us on LinkedIn for all the latest updates. How’s that for great value?

Editor-in-chief 01424 776101 @FurnitureNewsED

The latest KPMG/Ipsos Retail Think Tank whitepaper (summarised from p76) concurs that retailers should find different ways to handle increasingly price-sensitive consumers, and also encourages the use of data-driven promotions to cement loyalty. From p72, we reveal what furniture retailers, suppliers and service providers have to say on the matter. Is automation the answer, or should value be added through extra features or smarter marketing?I’dhazard a guess that the solution is a combination of the above, but it’s also worth remembering that people have a strange relationship with pricing. In his 2012 book, The Psychology of Price, Leigh Caldwell noted: “One of the most fundamental principles of setting a price is that there is no true value for anything. Any product is worth whatever a customer will pay for it, and what customers are willing to pay is surprisingly easy to influence with some simple psychological techniques.”

EDITOR’S COMMENT 3 EDITORIAL EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Paul Twitterpaul@gearingmediagroup.com01424Farley776101@FurnitureNewsED SALES SALES AND MARKETING DIRECTOR (FURNITURE NEWS PORTFOLIO) Sam Twittersam@gearingmediagroup.com07764Horscroft650655@FurnitureNewsAD OVERSEAS AGENT Casey Loo (Asia) +65 973 00123 PRODUCTION PRODUCTION MANAGER James james@gearingmediagroup.comAsh DIGITAL MANAGER Nyall nyall@gearingmediagroup.comMcCurrach COPY ADMINISTRATOR Steve production@gearingmediagroup.com01424Merrick776108 ACCOUNTS GENERAL MANAGER Wendy Williams 01424 wendy@gearingmediagroup.com817433 CHAIRMAN Nigel Gearing SUBSCRIPTIONS (UK-£65, Europe-£85, subscriptions@gearingmediagroup.comRoW-£95) REPRO, PRINT AND DISTRIBUTION Stephens & George GEARING MEDIA GROUP LTD 4 Red Barn Mews, High Street Battle, East Sussex TN33 0AG ISSN No: 1475 - 3731 © Gearing Media Group Ltd 2022 GENERAL INFORMATION No part of this publication may be reproduced without the specific prior written agreement of the Publisher and may not be stored on any type of retrieval system. Furniture News/ Gearing Media Group Ltd accepts no responsibility for variations in colour reproduction. Special colours (Pantone etc) can be catered for with prior arrangement. Some elements of the editorial content in this publication are submitted by the trade, however, all efforts are made to ensure that the editorial remains true to fact and unbiased. Monies may have been accepted to offset the costs of colour reproduction. Gearing Media Group Ltd reserves the right to alter without prior notice any content other than customers’ advertisements. No correspondence will be entered into regarding altered or adjusted editorial content. The editor’s decision is final. All material submitted for inclusion in Furniture News is done so entirely at the owner’s risk and no responsibility is accepted for the safekeeping or return thereof. Advertiser information is reproduced in good faith and Gearing Media Group accepts no responsibility in respect of adverts appearing in the magazine, and the magazines expressed do not necessarily reflect the publisher’s views.

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CONTENTS 30 EMMA (COVER FEATURE) 6 NEWS 10 INSIGHT 10 Back in Action / 14 Bridgman / 16 Devonshire 20 Getting personal 24 EVENTS 24 Autumn Long Point / 26 Bed Show 32 Autumn Furniture Show / 36 Big Shots 38 PRODUCTS 44 Living / 46 Bedroom / 62 Trade services 72 OPINION 72 The price is right? 76 Maintaining customers through the crisis 80 The benefits of unified IT / 82 Christmas marketing 84 Sales pitch hierarchy / 85 New ways to pay 86 Weathering the storm / 88 Jobs / 89 ACID / 90 Feedback Furniture News Cover SEL_ART.pdf 1 25/08/2022 14:22 BED SHOW | LIVING BEDROOM | TRADE SERVICES THE PRICE IS RIGHT? Negotiating the cost of living crisis Back in Action’s perfect posture Devonshire’s new directions #396 September 2022 YOURAWAKENBEST Sleep smart with Emma Cover.indd 25/08/2022 17:17 10 WE HAVE SEEN A +400% UPLIFT FOR ERGONOMIC HOME OFFICE ITEMS CONTRIBUTORS Jessica Alexander, executive director, National Bed Federation (NBF) Nicola Snell, founder, Press Loft Matt Brown, MD, SYZYGY 862882 5


“Customers want to see and feel the products they’re buying before they purchase, so having a store where we can combine the efficiency of digital and the experience of in-store really helps us create a space that our customers, and employees, will benefit from. We’re excited to see how this omnichannel approach will support shoppers, and to explore ways to roll this out across further stores.”Ahead of revealing its preliminary results in October, ScS announced that positive trading, strong margin and effective cost management during the year means it now expects to report full-year profit ahead of expectations.


The Furniture Makers’ Company is inviting HR professionals working in the trade to a free one-day conference this month to learn about the charity’s welfare support and how it can benefit the lives of employees who might be struggling due to the cost of living crisis.

The physical products are supported by digital endless aisles, enabling customers to browse the retailer’s full product catalogue on interactive screens. An app has also been launched, enabling staff and shoppers to co-browse and utilise new room visualisation tools.

“The list was determined solely based on feedback provided by those who know our company best — the colleagues that work here,” comments Dreams’ recruitment manager, Lydia Miles. “Strong culture and values, access to career opportunities and great senior leadership are the drivers of satisfaction, and you have called us out as one of the best companies in the retail industry.”

The National Bed Federation (NBF) has appointed Tom Williams (ex-ASDA) as its sustainability and circular economy lead TR Hayes’ Derek Hayes, the driving force behind the business for 70 years and a founder member of the Minerva Furniture Group, passed away in July following a long battle with cancer La-Z-Boy International’s brand marketing director Natasha Shillingford is aiming to raise £2500 for long-time charity partner Ronald McDonald House Charities by running the London Marathon in October Mattress Online has welcomed Martin Adams as chief innovation officer. Martin has been unofficially involved in a consultancy capacity with the business since its inception Kelebek Furniture, one of Turkey’s oldest furniture and manufacturers,kitchenplans to open its first UK retail store this month, in Edmonton, North London Sussex Beds has secured a location for its 14th store – in Caterham, Surrey. The opening, which the retailer hopes to complete by the end of the year, will be the brand’s first outside of East Sussex and Kent, in empty units covering 3500ft2 Spinks has appointed Chris Balmer as its global sales director. Chris has worked extensively in the materialscomponentsofindustry,automotivewithexperiencemanufacturinganddirect


The Welfare Matters conference will take place on Wednesday 28th September (10am–3pm) at Furniture Makers’ Hall, London. The conference is specifically targeted at HR professionals or anyone in a furnishing business that oversees people management. The charity also plans to launch a free service that will support workers struggling with mental health issues.

ScS has opened a brand-new concept store in Coventry that is designed to support omnichannel experiences. The 18,000ft2 store – the first of its kind for the company – launched in July following a complete refit that integrates both physical and digital touchpoints.

The concept store arrived shortly after the business’ Digital Lounge, a bespoke office, also located within the Gallagher Retail Park store.

Jonny Westbrooke, CEO of The Furniture Makers’ Company, says: “The cost of living crisis continues to deepen, and with inflation at its highest level for 40 years and energy bills set to rise in October, an increasing number of families around the country will be feeling the pinch and worrying about their finances.“Asthe charity for the furnishing industry, we have been supporting the welfare of people working in the trade since 1903. We help furnishing industry people by providing financial grants and practical, useful advice.“Traditionally, human resource departments have helped communicate our message to employees at their company who they know to be struggling. We want to connect with as many HR professionals in the industry as possible, and the Welfare Matters conference will be an opportunity to bring them together so they can learn about the charity and ask questions about the service.”


CEO Steve Carson says: “Our team has worked extremely hard designing, planning and delivering the concept store, so we are delighted to see the fruits of those efforts come to life. Over a number of years, we’ve witnessed the prominence of digital shopping rise, and whilst we’ve adapted our online services to fit the changing market, there will always be a need for a physical presence when it comes to made-to-order furniture.

Tapi, The Very Group, Dunelm, Wren Kitchens and Dreams have been named as some of the top 20 retailers to work for in 2022, in a league table published by Retail Week in collaboration with Glassdoor.

Tapi took second place in the rankings, The Very Group 12th, Dunelm 14th and Wren Kitchens 17th, while Dreams ranked 19th, with a score of 3.9/5.

NEWS 7FOLLOW FURNITURE NEWS ON LINKEDIN imm cologne, traditionally a January show, will take place from 4-7th June in 2023 as a one-off ‘spring edition’. Organiser Koelnmesse states that the dates were chosen in close consultation with its market partners Mattress Online has signed a new sponsorship with Rotherham United Football Club (‘the Millers’) for the 2022/23 season, further cementing its relationship with the South Yorkshire town Silentnight has been selected as Premier Inn’s official bed supplier, in a move that will see tens of thousands of exclusive beds rolled out in hotels across the UK, Ireland, Germany and the UAE from next month

Additionally, the funding will enhance Bensons’ logistics network – especially at its Tewkesbury distribution centre, which is being revamped to increase capacity, speed up delivery times and align it with customer service levels at its other centres in Huncoat and Ayr – while investment in Bensons’ Huntingdon manufacturing site will be increased.

In other news, Bensons has appointed experienced supply, logistics and manufacturing expert Gavin Chappell (ex-Asda, Boots, Dunelm and Holland and Barrett) as its COO, and has launched a new advertising campaign which highlights the affordability of its beds and mattresses. Bensons has calculated that the cost of “a good rest” –when spread over the guaranteed life of one of its mattresses – could be as little as 15p per sleep, offering customers reassurance around “the value for money and health benefits of making one of their most important household investments at a time when budgets matter more than ever”.


The Young Furniture Makers Exhibition returns to Furniture Makers’ Hall and the Dutch Church in Austin Friars, London, on Wednesday 12th October (3pm-9pm) Next has increased its full-year profit guidance by +£10m to £860m (+4.5% YoY), after it saw full-price sales grow by +5% YoY in Q2 ONLINE FURNITURENEWS.NETAT

The Furniture Makers’ Company is working with the Local Energy Advice Partnership (LEAP) and C Supplies to help fuel-poor households replace their old white goods appliances with modern, energy-efficient machines



The investment (an as-yet unspecified amount) will also help Bensons grow its store portfolio across England, Scotland and Wales. Operating from 166 stores today, Bensons aims to create a network of 180-190 physical locations over the next two years and continue relocating into more suitable units in the towns in which it already trades.


Bensons for Beds has secured additional funding from owner Alteri Investors, which will principally be used to drive digital development as the retailer integrates its online platform with its store network.


Homemovers are predicted to spend £1.1b on beds and furniture over the next 12 months, according to the Q2 2022 Property & Homemover Report from property information specialist TwentyCi. The property market continues to thrive, states the report, which found that 402,011 households are currently considering a house move compared to 365,873 in April 2022, and that the number of households moving soon increased by +6%, from 328,640 in April to 348,840 last month. These homemovers will offer a £29b lifeline of expenditure to a retail economy which is being impacted by the cost of living crisis, inflation and increased interest rates, says TwentyCi, adding that each year, new owners spend £1.1b on beds and furniture, £462m on soft furnishings, £2b on flooring and window coverings and £4b on kitchens.

MD Colin Bradshaw says: “Homemovers represent a group who are compelled to spend throughout the moving journey. For the majority of homemovers, deferring expenditure during a move on items such as flooring, beds or sofas is not an option. This makes targeting them an obvious business choice. Furthermore, a homemovers average order value (AOV) is significantly greater than a non-homemover, with the return on investment derived from a focus on movers typically generating a return of £20 for every £1 invested.”

Sleepeezee has been awarded Sheffield Children’s Hospital’s New Corporate Partnership Award, after raising £84,500 from sales of its Jessica range across 2021-22

Last month, Wayfair announced plans to cut some 870 jobs (around 5% of its global workforce), in a bid to reduce operating expenses and adjust investment priorities.The etailer says the layoffs will cost it $30-$40m in expenses, the bulk of which will be incurred in Q3. The move is in response to a market downturn which has muted anticipated growth. Last month, Wayfair reported its worldwide results for Q2 (ended 30th June, 2022). Total net revenue was $3.3b, down $573m (or -14.9% YoY). US net revenue was $2.8b, down $302m (or -9.7% YoY), while international net revenue was $0.5b, down $271m (or-35.7% YoY). Wayfair achieved a gross profit of $896m (or 27.3% of total net revenue), yet suffered a net loss of $378m (non-GAAP adjusted EBITDA was down -$108m).“During a difficult macroeconomic environment, we remain squarely focused on our customers and our suppliers, and on making sure Wayfair is their preferred platform for the home. We are tightly controlling our many levers and steering Wayfair in a financially responsible manner through this period,” says Niraj Shah, CEO, co-founder and co-chairman. Wayfair did not specify where the redundancies would be made.

Chairman Ian Shepherd comments: “This is an important time for Bensons. Alteri’s investment enables us to step up our transformation programme across all areas of the business. We’ve made great progress towards our goal of becoming a market leading omnichannel retailer. There is still plenty to do and this investment will make a big difference, especially at a time when so many retailers are facing strong economic headwinds and the impact of high inflation.”

To secure a place at this member-only event (lunch and refreshments included), which will take place on Thursday 15th September from 10am3.30pm at SATRA’s HQ in Kettering, contact tristine., stating the applicable association.



Furmanac’s directors approached partners at Opus Birmingham to assist. Following a review of the company’s finances, it was identified that there was a viable option to rescue the business through an administration pre-pack deal whereby 160 jobs could be saved, and continuity of supply maintained – rather than liquidating and closing the business.


Furmanac has merged its various brands (including Hestia, MiChair and MiBed) under the umbrella company, as well as appointing a new production director, Mark Lingwood. He says: “2022 has been a year of many changes for Furmanac – all for better. Let’s wait and see what the rest of the year has to offer, because Furmanac has many exciting new products in the pipelines.”

On 21st July, Gareth Wilcox and Paul Harding of Opus Restructuring & Insolvency were appointed as the administrators of West Midlands manufacturer Furmanac Ltd – prior to securing a pre-pack deal to ensure continuity, saving some 160 jobs. Handcrafting beds and chairs in the UK for over 50 years, and specialising in adjustable mechanisms, Furmanac suffered substantially during the last couple of years with the closing and reopening of its own manufacturing site, and the closure of its customers during successive lockdowns, states Opus. This was followed by a consistent increase in the cost of materials, combined with a lack of availability and resource challenges.Combined, these factors combined proved too much for the business.

TCM Living has appointed Kellie Oliver as MD of AMX Design, with effect from 31st October. Kellie is currently head of buying at Oak Furnitureland. She will succeed Bob Hadley, who has decided to retire Scatter Box founder Caroline Horgan has been honoured by the All-Ireland 2022EntrepreneurFoundationBusinesswithitsMeathOfTheYearaccreditation Brussels Furniture Fair has appointed Glenn De Maeseneer as MD, following the departure of Lieven Van den Heede, who is “looking for a new challenge” Oak Furnitureland has accelerated its move into the sofa market with the launch of eight new ranges, plus expanded collections, following “strong double-digit growth in sofa sales over the last year”. The retailer plans to reformat 53 of its stores accordingly

The design and production of furniture and furnishings will generate intellectual property (IP) in different forms including design rights, copyright, trade marks and patents – and the copying and infringement of these rights from businesses based both in the UK and globally is an ongoing challenge, and one that many businesses in the sector struggle to protect against effectively and affordably.

The new business, Furmanac Group, is owned by John Hilliard, Gee Hilliard and Wayne Mullins.

Officials from the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) will be in attendance, and will help explain the current status of the project ahead of consultation. Trading Standards will also be present.Thisevent promieses to give members an opportunity to refresh their knowledge on the current regulations, gain an understanding of potential changes to the new regulations, and hear from industry experts, giving members an opportunity for networking and discussion to help prepare for the upcoming consultation.


Contract furnishings association BCFA and design rights champion ACID have entered a new partner relationship to combat copying in the furnishings sector.



The BCFA and ACID have worked collaboratively for many years, and have formalised this by entering into a new partner arrangement to support BCFA members in protecting their rights in this area through education and access to ACID support and resources.

BCFA MD Jeremy Stein says: “Respect for intellectual property rights is a key part of the BCFA members’ Code of Conduct, and is evidence of our members’ ethical approach to manufacturing. At the same time, our members must continue to be vigilant to ensure that their products and designs are not being copied. I am hugely pleased therefore that the BCFA has now entered a new partner relationship with ACID that I am sure will provide our members with a new level of support and IP awareness about the protection of their intellectual property.”DidsMacdonald, OBE, CEO of ACID, adds: “ACID has worked collaboratively with the BCFA over many years and there has been much reciprocity on many issues. Raising the importance about respect for intellectual property issues will, in the fullness of time, resonate with all those who care about ethics.”

The Very Group, which operates multicategory digital retailers Very and Littlewoods, has appointed Jessica Myers (ex-Metro Bank, NatWest) as chief marketing officer. She will start on 3rd October Mattress Online has added a third store to its physical portfolio, Sheffield bed outlet Eades & Co (formerly Discount Beds) Murmur has opened its first London outlet, at Icon Outlet at The 02. The luxury homewares brand occupies a 1637ft2 store. Murmur originally launched as the first homeware collection from bedding and bath brand Bedeck

Furniture industry associations SATRA, BFM and the NBF are inviting their members to a joint seminar where industry experts Tristine Hargreaves (SATRA and NBF), Steve Moore (BFM) and Tom Notley (SATRA) will discuss the potential changes and anticipated new approach to the Furniture & Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations.

Visit for more information. Dreamers welcome! Designers and artists with broad imaginations, architects and specifiers across all of the nations, from wardrobes to beds our quality can’t be denied, one of our innovative products can even be used outside. Outdoor kitchens and games, a summerhouse withstands all kinds of weather all the year round. Through the heat of the summer into cold winter chill, still a half century later MEDITE makes it real.

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This year, Buckinghamshire-based family retailer Back in Action is celebrating 35 years of helping customers sit more comfortably. With stores in Amersham, Bristol, Marlow and London, the business is proving invaluable for a growing number of people afflicted with back pain, says senior ergonomics adviser, Lucinda Newbound …


The Newbound family, from left – Lucinda, Lindall, David and Romilly

Back issues seem to be affecting younger people. Do you feel you’re relevant to that demographic? Oh absolutely, there is nothing better than getting to a problem early – and yes, we really are seeing issues younger and younger. Being able to help a broad demographic of age and affluence is why we sell items to help with posture, back pain and fitness starting at just £29.

Over the course of the pandemic, the desire for ergonomic furniture has grown – we have seen an overall +400% uplift across the board for ergonomic home office items. The difference this could make to productivity is staggering, especially when our research over a 10-year period has shown the average proportion of back pain-related sick leave in the UK is 40%. We’ve seen that, by sitting actively, this can be reduced to less than 0.1%. We feel very lucky to have been in a position over the last two years to make huge changes to the way thousands of people are working. We are motivated by creating lasting positive change, by adjusting the way people use their bodies through a working day. This means that we love working one on one, getting things right for each individual.



Founded by David and Lindall Newbound as a pop-up store in their Berkshire home, and since taken over by daughters Lucinda and Romilly, Back in Action prides itself on its range of stylish, ergonomic furniture and associated backcare solutions – and the work it does to address the causes of back pain. Thanks in part to the work-fromhome (WFH) revolution, Back in Action has become an increasingly popular destination for those investing in health and wellbeing. Offering a mix of top Scandinavian brands and proprietary solutions, the retailer truly values the opportunity to engage customers in a physical setting, explains Lucinda … What prompted you to specialise in back care? Back in Action was started in 1987 by my father David Newbound, an engineer who suffered a debilitating neck injury in 1982. When he discovered there was an alternative to constant pain, David formed the company to share the information and help other people. Over the last 35 years we have helped thousands of people lead happier, pain-free lives. All in all, we’re pretty proud of what we do and the people we work with. Our team is the core of our business. How does your sales approach differ to that of a standard furniture store? At Back in Action, our experts are at the very core of our business. In fact, many of our staff started their relationship with Back in Action as customers and subsequently decided to join the team –so they’ve got a pretty good idea of what customers are going through. Together, our expertise and passion for helping people lead happier, pain-free lives continues to grow. We strive to manage, prevent and treat the symptoms of back pain, and help customers find the perfect chair – whether that’s for long periods of desk work, dining or relaxing. What sort of feedback do you receive from customers? Many of our customers have sought help from doctors, physiotherapists and chiropractors, and still they suffer with back or neck pain. As a last solution they come to us – often we can diagnose and come up with a solution we know will help them within minutes of them walking into one of our shops. Has the WFH movement created a tangible difference to sales? We know that many people have struggled over the last few years as the movement to WFH has become the norm. We’ve seen workers sitting in unsuitable dining chairs at the kitchen table, propped up on a stool at a kitchen island or breakfast bar, and even working from bed and bath! Any of these could lead to back pain, bad posture, sore neck and shoulders and more.

The key for us when starting is always knowledge – understanding the person, the space, the possibilities, the restrictions, and their needs. We love getting to know things from the inside out so that we can achieve the greatest change possible.

Use the Back In Action Mobiliser at a practitioner, at one of our showrooms, or in the comfort of your own home with our advice and guidance. The Mobiliser can be hired for a month to reset your body, or bought, for a lifetime of improvement for the whole family.

By shouting about them from the hilltops! Honestly, for our team, what we do is an absolute passion, so it’s easy to spread the word because we know the incredible difference our products can make to people’s lives. Beyond us getting excited about them, the products speak for themselves – we get people sitting in them and people can feel how much better a chair works for their body than what they have been sitting in.

Tell us more about the Mobiliser … The Back in Action Mobiliser System is a state-of-the-art device for use at home for those who are stuck in the cycle of everlasting back pain. Mobilisation is a slow-moving manual technique to safely move damaged and stiff joints. It can improve both joints and the supporting soft tissue, working steadily and deeply to give lasting benefits. This could offer you resilience in daily activities, reduced inflammation, increased circulation levels and, hopefully, less pain, even without painkillers.

How do you keep abreast of the latest product innovations and developments in ergonomics? We learn from our colleagues, customers, from the chiropractors, physios, doctors and osteopaths that we work with, and by attending training courses and seminars. We are right on the front line – working with real people and learning what works from real-life situations.

Briefly describe your breath of offer –and any new product avenues you are considering At Back in Action, we stock our favourite leading designers and brands in the field of ergonomics, from Varier to HAG, Moll and Stokke, to Aeris and Stress, as well as our own range of products. Whether you’re looking for a chair for desk work, dining or relaxing, at Back in Action we have some fabulous chairs to choose from – ones that not only help you sit actively (with movement, forwards and backwards, side to side, up and down), but look amazing too – and trust us, we’ve tried a lot of chairs! But we are so much more than just chairs – we offer products that help beat back pain in day-to-day life, from the bestselling Tripp Trapp high chair to our own-brand Mobiliser system, sit-stand desks to backpacks, and even trainers. Our offer covers all aspects of back and posture health. From traditional office furniture to dining solutions, sofas, beds, and accessories, we have something that will cater to all ages and tastes. How do you promote the ergonomic benefits of the brands you stock?

Have you found sourcing/buying difficult in recent years? Yes! but we carefully manage our stock to ensure that our customers only feel minimal impact. We do this by holding lots of stock in a huge variety of colours so that our clients can have something beautiful to match their home decor. How large is your customer catchment area? UK wide – we can deliver almost anything anywhere, to help as many people as possible. Finally, how did you celebrate your 35-year anniversary? The anniversary marks 35 years of our family’s mission to ensure the UK is sitting comfortably and actively, without any pain or discomfort. To celebrate this momentous event, in July we hosted a variety of activities in our Bristol, Amersham, Marlow and London stores, including a raffle to win one of our bestselling Varier chairs. As part of the milestone celebrations, we also reopened our refurbished and rejuvenated wellness and furniture studio in Bristol, which has been a cornerstone of the city centre ever since it first opened in a derelict nightclub in 1992. During a time when it’s easier to shop online, we believe it is essential to not only offer customers a place where they can see tangible products, but provide them with a tailored one-to-one service too. It is experiences like these which will provide customers with a memorable experience and help them find the best product – two things we prioritise above all else

WE LOVE WORKING ONE ON ONE, GETTING THINGS RIGHT FOR EACH INDIVIDUAL todesignedwasSystemMobiliserAction’sinBackjointsstiffanddamagedmovesafelysufferershelp 12 INSIGHT

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The opening of the Cheltenham showroom also reflects our desire to make shopping at Bridgman more accessible, and was chosen due to the demographic of the area closely matching our target customer. How did you ensure they remained on brand? As with our other five stores, these two new showrooms utilised the same brand colour scheme to ensure complete consistency across all Bridgman shopping channels. Our showroom designer also used clever zoning techniques for product displays to show customers how our furniture could fit into their home and garden. Though each showroom is unified by a strong, consistent sense of our brand identity, we also ensured that each space is unique, to differentiate the stores from one another.

Why open these stores, in these locations? How do they fit into your wider strategy?


CheltenhamBridgman offacadetheco-headlinesSnugstoreWellsTunbridgeBridgman’s

Having already previously opened a Kent Showroom several years ago, Royal Tunbridge Wells was the perfect place to reopen for our already established customer base in the area, as well as new customers. To celebrate our return to the area, we held a special grand opening event, hosted by local resident and Bridgman customer Gloria Hunniford. Locals were invited to come down on opening day to enjoy a ribboncutting ceremony, a glass of bubbly and a first look at our new space.

How are you marketing them and driving footfall? We’ve used a combination of successful targeted leaflet door drops using Acorn to residents in and around the area, and social media adverts, based on postcode and interest, directing people to visit the showroom webpages. We’ve also made great use of our organic social media channels by promoting the store openings to our loyal customer following. What do you like about the locations? Both our Royal Tunbridge Wells and Cheltenham showrooms are situated in areas of the respective towns with a historic specialisation in interiors. This is something we really appreciate, as a three-generation family business of furnituremakers. The sites are also easily accessible for our customers, with convenient parking and wheelchair accessibility.

Upmarket home and garden furniture specialist Bridgman turned 45 this year. Since pioneering premium rattan and waterproof cushions in the UK, the family-run business is now a confident player in the living and dining segment, and recently opened two new showrooms, in Tunbridge Wells and Cheltenham – incorporating concessions for its sister brand, sofa-in-a-box brand, Snug – taking its store portfolio to seven.

Here, Bridgman’s commercial director, Alex Bridgman – with input from regional showroom manager Amanda Chauhan Shaw – explains the rationale behind the new outlets …



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The new showrooms were designed by our internal design team, allowing us full control over the full design and fitting process. Both spaces have been decorated with a consideration for the natural features of each building, with features such as exposed brick interior walls, as well as taking inspiration from the local area to ensure cohesion between our brand and the surrounding area and its history. Was any significant physical redevelopment involved? The Cheltenham showroom underwent the most significant work as we had to adapt the space from a fashion store, removing changing rooms and window partitions to create an open space, filled with natural light. What products are on show, and why were they selected? We selected furniture and sets by analysing our most popular products based on in-store and online sales. These two large showroom spaces have allowed us to include a wide variety of both our garden furniture and our indoor dining and lounging sets. As in all of our showrooms, each space also has a section dedicated to seasonal pieces from our sister brand, Snug – the sofain-a-box company, founded in 2018. How would you describe the in-store atmosphere? How it was achieved? Both showroom spaces are open plan and flooded with natural light and neutral tones. This creates a calming ambience that isn’t overcrowded, pushing the space’s focus to the quality of the products and allowing customers to visualise how the furniture could enhance their home or garden. How often will the contents/look be overhauled? We are constantly looking at ways to adapt our showrooms based on customer feedback, whether this is small tweaks to accessories or introducing new sets and collections to each space. Two key overhauls also occur seasonally based on the outdoor and indoor seasons. We also try our best to have furniture in the showrooms should a customer request to see it. How many people work at each showroom, and who manages them?

Which architectural and design partners did you work with, and how did they influence the outcome?

Our Cheltenham showroom is managed by Travis, and Royal Tunbridge Wells by Lucas. Having one showroom-based manager allows our team to create really strong, personal relationships with our customers, achieving the five-star service that Bridgman is renowned for. Are there any other developments we should know about? This summer, we launched our firstever television advert, once again using a mixture of creative marketing and data-led strategy to reach new customers. This year also marks Bridgman’s 45th anniversary, and we have even more exciting projects and events planned for the rest of the year

The NEC show being in April rather than January messed with our timeline a bit, as well as the sales climate slowing down earlier than usual this year. We launched two new ranges at the show, Chiltern and Henley, which are both made from reclaimed pine sourced from demolished buildings. We are constantly looking at our environmental impact, since the furniture industry does tend to have a large carbon footprint, so using reclaimed timber is a step in the right direction in terms of sustainability. Packaging is the next key focus, although the cost is difficult to overcome with the current plastic-free options, so there’s a lot more work to be done there. At the show, we also launched a small kitchen collection into one of our popular painted ranges (Dorset Painted), which was extremely well received. Although we have not yet had the first

WEST COUNTRY WONDER HockinNicolle today(below)and…1999inHQ,Devonshire’s 16 INSIGHT

It’s a great achievement to hit another decade milestone, especially with all the changes that have gone on in the company and the industry in the last few years. Since taking over in 2019, it’s been such an honour to uphold the legacy and reputation that the company has built up over those years. Can you give us a snapshot of where the business stands right now? Obviously, there are a lot of challenges in the industry right now, with the cost of living, Ukraine, shipping rates and now the exchange rate as well, so there’s certainly plenty to keep us on our toes. Since Andy (Waddell, MD) left the company in June, we’ve restructured the business and been focusing on our core foundations, making sure we’re financially and logistically sound in order to push forwards – as well as planning for the future in terms of products, technology and marketing especially.

Bideford-based cabinet leader Devonshire Pine turned 30 this year, and is turning a new corner under the leadership of its founder’s daughter, Nicolle Hockin. This month, Furniture News explores the product, people and processes that make the business such a valued industry partner …

Take us through your newest lines –what feedback have you received?

How does it feel to be marking Devonshire’s 30th anniversary this year?


batch of stock in (it’s due this month), we have already had to place repeat orders.Regarding the two cabinet ranges we selected to take forwards, based on good feedback – Tavistock (a tambourstyle oak dining range) and Madley (a modular painted bedroom range) – we have decided to hold on until the end of the year, when we are hopeful that shipping rates will continue to improve so we can launch them at the very best,ofcourse, always product development going on behind the scenes, and one thing we’re keen to focus on over the next 12 months is our chair offering – into new designs and colours, as well as refining our current supply chain.

So, externally, we are operating the same way – the same products, supply chain, logistics and service – but internally we have moved a lot of processes around to be more streamlined and efficient.

Aside from the recent developments, can you take us through some of the biggest moments in the company’s history since its inception? As we’re celebrating our 30th year, we’ve been taking the time to reflect on where we came from. Down in our reception area we have framed aerial shots of how our premises have grown over the years, and it’s fascinating to look at where we started and where we are now. Devonshire was founded by my father (Peter Hockin) in 1992 as a spraying facility, alongside his partner, who was manufacturing. Over time, Peter took over the production side as well, moved to a bigger premises, and not long after began building the first section of the now eight-phase, 240,000ft2 facility we operate from today. Over that time, we evolved from simple lacquer- and wax-finished pine manufacturing, to adding paint options, and then in 2005 we began to import oak product from overseas. Things evolved naturally, and over time the oak began to outsell the pine, and eventually rising production costs and lower import costs made it no longer viable to manufacture. Returning full circle, we do however still run our paint-spraying facility to offer a variety of colour choices, with currently nine colours available in all three of our painted ranges.


Is Devonshire operating in a markedly different way compared to before the pandemic? Since Devonshire officially stopped manufacturing in 2019, just mere months before Covid hit, the company as it is now was always going to be noticeably different to the one it was three years ago, with or without the pandemic. Covid and the resulting supply chain disruption caused us to really scrutinise and double down on our core foundations, as I’ve mentioned above, to make sure we were in the most stable position possible to weather any further challenges that may come our way. This groundwork includes our finances (of course), customer service (making sure our existing customers have everything they need) and product (making sure that we are well stocked across all collections, and that they are consistently the quality that we expect).

Our QC manager Andrew has been with the company since 1993 – he’s our longest-serving member of staff – and our manufacturing background really gives us the edge when it comes to quality control and product development. Many of our staff have been with us for over 15 years, so that retained knowledge helps us to really drill down into the construction, production and real details of the product, as well as having the skills to make prototypes and facilitate any repairs quickly in-house.

For us, it’s not a case of bringing in a box and sending it back out without any input into how it works or how it’s put together. The staff we have working here really care about the product and the service we provide, and our reputation reflects that. We know that we can never compete at the bottom end of the market, because too much blood, sweat and tears go into the production of any new product that we put our name to.

Improving our service is the main focal point at the moment – having good, reliable product is one thing, but when there is so much choice available it is the surrounding service which makes the difference. We have a 1-, 5- and 10-year plan, but 30 might be pushing it a little bit! You’ll just have to wait and see …

- Alison Vanstone, company secretary (joined in 2000)

Give us a quick summary of the services and lead times you offer Long story short, we currently offer 13 ranges across bedroom, dining and living, in a range of materials and finishes such as reclaimed pine, lacquered or waxed oak, and painted. Our lead times vary in general from 1-3 weeks depending on stock, volume and payment terms, and 3-6 weeks for painted product in premium colours. We deliver to the UK mainland on our own fleet of trucks, although we do have added flexibility with two vans and a palletBecauseservice.we have full confidence in our product, we have an excellent returns policy, and sell off clearance and seconds in our own local outlet, which also serves as a showroom for our trade customers. We have teams dedicated specifically to customer service, quality control, distribution and warehouse management, since we currently hold £4m of stock on-site in our warehouses in Devon. What’s in the pipeline for Devonshire? How are you gearing up for the next 30 years? There’s always projects on the go – some make it to launch, and some get dropped along the way, but the innovation and development is constant. One project almost ready to launch is our new online ordering platform, which is a serious upgrade to our current system (which has served us well but is over 10 years old now). The new site will be more streamlined, user friendly, and packed with a lot more product information and a live stocklist – anything to make our retailers’ lives easier means the potential of higher sales for us.

Here’s what some of Devonshire’s long-serving team had to say … “It’s our 30th anniversary this year, and we are all proud of that. Being a stable, honest family business, with a great team to work with, has made it a pleasure to be part of the team for over 20 years. I’ve seen many changes over the years, but look forward to seeing the success of Devonshire carry on for many more. I’m always proud to see Devonshire on the map in our beautiful North Devon!”

- Stephen Parker, showroom manager (joined 2007)

“I’m excited for the future of Devonshire. With a young, fresh mind at the helm, we’re being steered in a modern and innovative way. I’ve seen many changes over the years working at Devonshire, but I’m more excited now than ever before with the direction it’s going in.”



How does such longevity and experience benefit your customers?

- Gemma Spry, sales and marketing executive (joined 2002)


“Working for a company where good customer service is a basic principle can be rewarding in so many ways, even on a daily basis.”

E: T: 01237 471872 One of the largest cabinet wholesalers in the UK, with over 30 years experience in the furniture industry. For more details please get in touch 13 COLLECTIONS - VAST UK STOCK HOLDING - FAST DELIVERY 9 PAINTED COLOUR OPTIONS - EXPERIENCED SERVICE TEAM


Where do you see the industry going in the next 5-10 years? Online sales will continue to grow, which will marginalise those that don’t move with that trend. Consumers are becoming more conscious of the impact that ‘fast furniture’ (sorry, terrible pun!) has, and I expect replacement cycles to lengthen. What question do you wish we’d asked? How would you have answered? Do you think a digital sales tax is a good idea? Yes, in principle, because it is much harder to avoid than standard methods of taxing corporate activity. There has to be a levelling up between bricks-and-mortar operators and those that sell predominantly online, simply because of the vastly different cost bases. If the pandemic taught us anything, it must be that without support, high streets and other physical retail will continue to decline

What should everyone in our industry either stop or start doing?

A lot of time in meetings and nothing that exciting, I suspect!



How might a child describe what you do?

Peter Harding is the MD of Fairway Furniture, the largest independent furniture retailer in the South West, operating five stores across Devon and Cornwall.

etting Personal 20 INSIGHT

Start understanding that better customer service – be that retailer to customer or supplier to retailer – needs to improve further. Spare parts and replacements in particular take far too long for today’s consumer. And stop wasting so many resources. The volume of products that arrive damaged and that suppliers do not want back is staggering!

What’s the biggest long-term challenge you face? The gradual creep of online, its effect on consumer behaviour and the viability of sizeable bricks-and-mortar stores. Selling a tactile does provide some protection, but technology and consumer expectations continue to change, and will alter that dynamic in the future. If you had 10 x your working budget, what would you spend it on? I would greatly increase spending on our digital offering, as the internet is no respecter of size – indeed, it favours the retail giants over small specialists. Consumers expect the website of an independent like us to match that of Furniture Village or DFS, when we can spend on it only a small fraction of what they can. I would also look at how we grow the business through expansion. Steering a 165-year-old family business is not without challenge, but careful and modest growth has been one of the reasons why we are still trading successfully. What would be the title of your autobiography? Credit Crunch, Recession, Global Pandemic & War in Europe – My Life in Retail. What does ‘work/life balance’ mean to you? Ensuring that I give my best to the business in terms of commitment, leadership and progression, while also ensuring that I have the time to enjoy family life alongside that. Who’s been your most influential professional mentor? My father. We spent more than 15 years working side by side on a daily basis before he retired, and I learnt a great deal from his experiences of growing the business through the 1970s and 1980s. We had our disagreements along the way (which family business doesn’t?!), but most of the time we were ‘on the same page’. What advice would you give your younger self? Dream more, take more risks, trust yourself. What’s been your best day in business to date? There have been plenty over the 27 years since I joined the company. From a performance point of view, achieving record sales for the last financial year despite only being open for 9.5 months. From a non-performance aspect, getting our St Austell store open for Boxing Day one year when it had been completely flooded just seven days earlier – or emerging from the pandemic in a stronger position and not having had to reduce headcount.

What’s the biggest myth about our industry? That it is a ‘cottage industry’. Parts of it still are, but there are plenty of retailers and suppliers who are efficient, progressive and profitable.





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Visit our new digital showroom to explore our decors in high resolution 3D, order product samples and get advice on your project.

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As one of the UK’s largest independent distributors of panels and decorative surfaces, our huge stockholding of decors features matching laminates, melamines, veneers and edging from top brands like EGGER, Kronospan, FINSA and Abet Laminati, as well as exclusive collections from boutique European manufacturers such as XyloCleaf, Dekodur, Transformad, Decospan and more. These stunning surfaces are readily available together with an extensive range of core materials; familiar favourites as well as revolutionary products including Garnica Ultralight and the groundbreaking, sustainable Honext board. What’s more, our solid surface portfolio includes unique and inspiring finishes from both HIMACS and Aristech® Get products quickly via our nationwide distribution network, plus help and support from our team of experts who can guide you through the latest products, trends and regulations. Lathams truly offer a complete decor solution: great products, great service and expert advice.

We offer free delivery and returns, with a 365-night free trial and a 10-year guarantee. You can also shop with 0% finance over 12 months. Introducing our most sustainable mattress ever New from the sleep experts at Simba. The Green Organic mattress features all the comfort we’re famous for, with just half the carbon footprint of traditional hybrid mattresses. 1/2 THE FOOTPRINTCARBON CERTIFIEDMATERIALSORGANIC 365 SLEEPNIGHTTRIAL 10 GUARANTEEYEAR OR100%HANDCRAFTEDLUXURIOUSLYRECYCLABLEBIODEGRADABLE


Trade attendees can register with their business card at any participating location. The show is open from 9am to 5pm each day – call 0115 973 4481 for more information

COME AND SEE WHY WE ARE KNOWN AS THE INFURNITURERELAXEDENJOYABLEMOSTANDQUALITYSHOWTHEUK DesignsAshwoodOslo, FurnitureBakerHudson, WiemannPlus,MiamiLennon,SirenFurniture ALFBelpasso, DesignsTamariskBloxham, 24 EVENTS

Long Point returns to Long Eaton from 19th-21st this month, offering buyers a rich variety of sourcing opportunities, from quality upholstery to cabinet furniture, fabrics and accessories.

“Long Point is the ideal vehicle for both manufacturers and retailers alike to work together,” says Andrew Mitchell, chairman of the Long Eaton Guild of Furniture Manufacturers, which organises the biannual exhibition. “If you haven’t visited us before, then I invite you to take a day or two of your time to come and see why we are known as the most enjoyable and relaxed quality furniture show in the UK. I guarantee you will not be disappointed.”

Confirmed exhibitors include Alexander & James, ALF/Bontempi, Ashley Manor, Ashwood Designs, Artistic Upholstery, Baker Furniture, Bluebone, Bree’s New World, Carlton Furniture, Collins & Hayes, David Gundry, Duresta, G Plan, Gascoigne Designs, Hunter Knight, Iain James Furniture, Nicoletti Home, Parker Knoll, Richmond Interiors, Siren Furniture, Spink & Edgar, Steed Upholstery, Tamarisk Designs, Tetrad, Warwick Fabrics, Westbridge Furniture and Wiemann.Thebulk of the show takes place in Long Eaton’s showrooms and mills –from Harrington Mills and West End Mills to various manufacturers’ own facilities – while some suppliers will exhibit at the nearby Novotel, Trent Lock Golf and Country Club, Hopewells and The Village Hotel.



The show promises to present some of the biggest names in beds, with manufacturer exhibitors including featured exhibitor Hypnos, plus Airsprung, Breasley, Duvalay, GNG Group, Harrison Spinks, Millbrook, Shire Beds, Sealy, Silentnight, Sleepeezee and Vispring.

On Tuesday 20th September at 9am, Bed Show organiser, the National Bed Federation (NBF), will open the doors of Telford’s International Centre for its two-day trade event. The Bed Show celebrates the coming together of the best in British and Irish bed manufacturing and their component suppliers. It is a place where they can showcase their latest innovations, offers, promotions and sales support for the UK market. Bed buyers and specifiers interested in British- and Irish-made beds and their related products, can register their attendance for free via the Bed Show website.

Proving a success when introduced last year, the Supplier Innovation Zone returns, and promises to be the go-to destination for all purchasing managers of bed and mattress manufacturers. Alongside several European component suppliers, this year’s exhibitors include featured exhibitor Handy, plus Apropa, Boyteks Tekstil, CPS Group, Enkev, GTA Belgium, John Cotton Non-Wovens, Leggett & Platt UK, Maes Mattress Ticking, Mert Makina, Rawsons, Recticel, Spinks, The Vita Group and WolfAnyoneComponents.looking to take time out during the show can visit the new NBF Hub and meeting point, which will host some of the industry’s experts in technical support and provide a place to sit back, relax and catch up. Visitors and exhibitors are encouraged to step away from the stands and redeem their complimentary refreshment vouchers at any of the five on-site cafes, courtesy of sponsors BekaertDeslee, Jay-Be, Harrison Spinks, Silentnight and The VitaOnGroup.theevening of the first day, the gala dinner will host the NBF Bed Industry Awards ceremony, sponsored by Sleepeezee. Compered by Countdown presenter and broadcaster Colin Murray, the evening will recognise and celebrate 11 of the most successful manufacturers, suppliers and retailers in the UK and Irish bed industry. Discover more about the show and this year’s awards on the Bed Show website – and in Furniture News’ Bed Buyer supplement, published alongside this month’s issue


The countdown is on to the UK’s biggest bed exhibition – the NBF Bed Show, which promises 60 brands, more than 1000 visitors, and 11 award winners … 20 - 21 Sept 2022 | Telford Bringing The Bed Industry Together Mattresses | Divans | Bedsteads | Headboards | Pillows | Futons | Sofabeds | Tickings | Fillings | Springs | Foam Machinery | @thebedfedComponents|#BedShow2022

Returning to the subject of awards, we are often asked, why is it always the same people who win? Not true – every year, we do have new entrants, and they are often successful. But there are companies which also make a point of entering every year, too. Companies that regularly enter (and sometimes win) awards believe in the benefits, not just for PR, but also for the morale boost they can give the whole team. All we can say is, we would love to have more entries, and from more companies – but you do actually have to enter in the first place (perhaps more than once), and you do have to pay close attention to the criteria the independent experts who are our judges will be measuring you up against, in order to stand a chance of winning!


It’s September – it must be the Bed Show! We’re very proud of the fact that the NBF’s show, launched back in 2010, has become the annual meeting point for the UK bed industry, attracting visitors from all parts of the supply chain. Whatever the economic weather, this opportunity to come together and network should be a must for anyone who makes a living in the bed industry.

What’s behind the bed industry’s biggest dedicated event? Here, Jessica Alexander, executive director of the National Bed Federation (NBF), muses on the Bed Show, sustainability and awards … WAY

The Bed Industry Awards have become an integral part of the event, with winners announced every year at the Bed Show’s gala dinner. It’s been fascinating to see how these have evolved over the years. Perhaps not surprisingly, product innovation and corporate governance are increasingly focused on sustainability, with responses to climate change and circular economy solutions. We have been keen to support our members as much as we can on this journey, which is why we have introduced our Pledge for the Planet – encouraging members to commit to a journey of measuring and reducing their impacts in terms of carbon reduction, waste and resource efficiency. To help, we have developed ecodesign principles for mattresses, and are about to launch a practical ecodesign assessment toolkit. Our new sustainability lead will ensure this work is properly supported and developed.Thisemphasis on sustainability is of course, the right thing to be doing –but it is also about future-proofing the industry for potential legislation, and our engagement with governments on climate change and waste reduction is a very important part of our current agenda.Itistempting to suggest that sustainability is not currently a priority for businesses likely facing a significant slowdown in orders on the back of the cost of living crisis and looming recession. True, perhaps, in the short term. In the medium to long term, the impact of climate change could be far more serious. And besides, many sustainability measures actually lead to business wins such as costs reductions and improved productivity, as well as a host of new business models and new job opportunities. One door closes …


To find out more and for a list of NBF Approved members visit BEDFED.ORG.UK

Sleep comes easy when you buy beds made by an approved NBF member How?

By supporting sustainability through the NBF Pledge for the Planet and an ecodesign framework for Andmattresses.byeducating consumers on how to improve their sleep. In other words, we’ll keep on making sure our members do the right thing. Because when we do, everyone sleeps better at night. Our vision for the bed industry in 2022 and beyond is clear – we want to make it right.

By setting standards and driving ethics, transparency and responsibility. By championing excellence in bed-making and selling.

“We’re continuing to grow, continuing to pick up fantastic awards, and continuing to deliver products that combine smart technology with worldclass engineering and expertise from our in-house sleep lab to ensure we’re adapting to the needs to the modern sleeper.”Atthis year’s Bed Show, which is taking place in Telford on 20th and 21st this month, Emma will showcase its breakout Emma Motion range, which includes the brand’s first smart mattress. The range, which combines world-class engineering and insights from Emma’s industry-leading in-house sleep lab, purports to be revolutionising the way people sleep and defying the rolled foam stereotype – find out more on stand B40 at the show

30 EVENTS BED SHOW HybridDiamondEmma HybridDiamondEmma COVER STORY

Neil Robinson, country sales director – retail UK & Ireland, at Emma – The Sleep Company, says: “We’re absolutely delighted to now be a member of NBF and to be exhibiting at the NBF show. It’s a great way to celebrate a year in retail, and it comes at a time when we are celebrating a strong start to 2022 as a wider business – particularly given the current economic climate.

Leading global D2C sleep brand, new NBF member, and this month’s cover star, Emma – The Sleep Company, which is exhibiting at the NBF Bed Show for the first time this month, has had plenty of reasons to celebrate over the past 12 months – a year which saw the brand enter the UK retail market …

Now operating in more than 30 active markets, Emma is the most international D2C sleep brand, having expanded to a further 18 countries since 2019. Its growing team of more than 850 ‘Emmies’ is now based across five worldwide offices – Frankfurt, Lisbon, Manilla, Shanghai and Mexico City – or working remotely within the market, with many key hires being made in the retail team as Emma’s omnichannel strategy continues to be one of its key growth levers.


Building on its success of securing 75 product awards in 2021, this year has also seen significant wins in the consumer awards sphere. In addition to picking up two further Which? Best Buy awards for its Emma Helix Hybrid and Emma Diamond Hybrid – adding to the Best Buy picked up for the Emma Smart Hybrid last summer – the sleep tech company was also awarded Best Bed in a Box by Interiors Monthly.

Exhibitors confirmed at the time of going to press include Abacus, Alpha Designs Upholstery, Alstons, Ancient Mariner, Ashwood Designs, Bluebone, Carlton Furniture, Celebrity Motion Furniture, GCL Bedrooms, Hjort Knudsen, HTL, Julian Bowen, Kaydian, Kuka Home, New Trend Concepts, Ordorite, Orbital Vision, Protect-A-Bed, Relyon, Sherborne Upholstery, Smart Occasional, Spaceworks Interiors, Staingard, Staud, Value Mark Furniture, Welcome Furniture, Wood Bros, Wiemann and Wilde Java, to name just a few.The event’s countryside setting is easily accessible from the nearby motorway systems, and within easy reach of Birmingham Airport and its adjacent railway station.

Entrance to the show is free, and passes can be obtained by registering on its website. Parking is free of charge, and within a short walk of the exhibition. All trade buyers are welcome, and a complimentary light lunch is available


Now in its ninth year, the Autumn Furniture Show will return to the NAEC Stoneleigh Park, near Kenilworth in Warwickshire, from 4-5th October. STONELEIGH SHOWCASE

The popular trade show features a cross-section of leading bed, bedroom, cabinet and upholstery suppliers, while lighting and accessory suppliers, plus service providers, give an added boost to the varied mix of exhibitors. Anderson - Featuring a classic waterfall back, piped, cushioned arms and a full chaise leg rest. Available as a manual recline or power recline model with optional head tilt, and in a wide selection of leather or fabric covers to complete your perfect look.

● NAEC, Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire ● FREE lunch● FREE Showcasingparkingawide range of exhibitors See website for up to date listings and to register for your free entrance Registrationisnowopen

Exhibitors include:


Top Team - Furniture Old Boys (268 points); Runner-up team - Alderbury Sons of Guns (242 points); Top Flurry - The Furniture Old Boys (59 points); Top Novice Shots - TMJ Interiors; Top Male - Ian Griffin (62 points); Top Female - Susan Knights (40 points); and Top Gun Novice - Christopher Shaw (61 points)

Big Shots / Holland & Holland, Northwood, Middlesex / Wednesday 6th July


TOP Big Shots, the annual clay pigeon shoot organised in aid of The Furniture Makers’ Company, raised £30,000 for the charity. The fundraiser, which is supported by Furniture Village, attracted around 140 industry members, making up 34 teams. Once the clays were shot, guests were able to enjoy a drinks reception and three-course meal. The day finished with a charity auction and raffle, followed by the results of the shooting competition, with the awards being presented by TV personality and Furniture Village sleep ambassador Dr Ranj. The results were:


Nottingham Trent University BA Furniture and Product Design undergraduate Angelica has worked on live projects with companies including Wilko, Deadgood and Nestle – but her latest design sees her tread new ground …



“People go through shoes quite quickly, especially if they’re used for sports,” says Angelica, who hails from Hong Kong. “But the problem with trainers is that the fabric wears out before the sole, and not many people want to buy secondhand shoes.

Angelica, 21, has shown that old trainers destined for landfill or the incinerator can be used to make furniture. The student collected 22 pairs of used trainers to help her make the prototype Okapi Stool, which she designed to help young children learn to put their shoes on.

“Up to 40 different materials are used in a pair of shoes, which makes it hard for them to be recycled – so I wanted to show how this waste material could be repurposed and made much more sustainable. When combined with PU foam, it makes for a durable and rigid material which isn’t too soft. I was pleased to hear that a lot of people say that it’s surprising comfortable to sit on.”Named after a relative of the giraffe, the Okapi Stool features an ash wood frame with a handle to help children maintain their balance while standing to put shoes Angelicaon.collected the waste trainers from friends, and from charity shops which had failed to resell them. She then cut them into small, cube-like shapes using machinery, and by hand. The foam seat – comprising the trainers and PU – was set in a mould for 24 hours.“Ihad feedback from parents about what makes it difficult to prepare for school,” says Angelica. “They say their children can change their shoes, but it’s boring for them. So I wanted to make shoe changing fun and interesting, while also giving children more responsibility andAngelica’sindependence.”design was displayed at New Designers in London this summer. She can be found on Instagram at“Iconsidermyself to be a multidisciplinary designer,” she concludes. “I love to explore different concepts and ideas, as well as to challenge the limits within design. I aim to design things that improve people’s quality of life and encourage them to explore”

The undergraduate found that disused trainers with soles made from ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA), when combined with PU foam, were rigid and durable enough for seating.


Forte’s collections are tailored to individual markets, as requirements in different parts of the world vary in terms of style, colour and dimension –and these soltuions are informed by the latest trend reports, and the furniture retailers with which the manufacturer works.

In Forte’s key markets – the UK, Germany, France and Spain – the supplier operates its own trade organisations, enabling it to offer local support to stores. Forte also serves customers in their native language, helping build even better relationships.


Contact UK sales manager Victoria Ross on for more information


When furnishing a home, it is important to take a personal approach and create a space that feels comfortable and safe – states Forte, which offers plenty of practical solutions in various styles, colours, sizes and finishes so consumers can create relaxed, convenient and unique spaces for themselves and their families …

To further cement its relationships, Forte has built an exhibition hall in the German town of Bad Salzuflen, and every year during major trade fairs, the company’s team meets with its stockists there to present its new product ranges and discuss further cooperation.Anyoneinterested in learning more about Forte’s offer and seeing the latest collections can visit the 4000m2 Forte Exhibition Centre during the MOW fair in Bad Salzuflen, taking place this month (18th-22nd September).

TrondheimBohol WE ARE FORTE

Core Products’ ‘Plant a Tree’ campaign at this year’s January Furniture Show proved a great success, says Core’s Mike Rowley who, in June, set off to southern Brazil to personally oversee the planting process as a small part of the constant replenishment programme to which Core is committed.

PLANTING THE PRODUCTS OF TOMORROW 42 PRODUCTS foresterafromhelpwithplantingcommencingRowleyMike plantingforreadysaplingsYear-oldhundredswieldsconepinesingleA andharvestedarewhichseeds,of plantingforreadygrowncontainer woodpinefrommadeSideboard,Augusta

“Our most recent planting was over 800 trees, carried out as a thank you to customers old and new who visited our stand at the recent show, and it proved to be extremely popular,” says Mike.

“The region is very proud of its heritage of plantation management, which covers many generations. In 1975 an association of the local forest companies was formed – ACR was one of the world’s first forestry stewardship associations, and now represents the majority of growers in the state, actively managing over 7.5 million hectares of forest.“Each sapling is nurtured from a seedling in the nursery for the first six months, and is around 30cm high when planted out. Within a year, they will have grown to about 1m in height. To ensure plenty of growth space they are planted using a grid layout 2.5m apart. The planting process is all carried out by hand to ensure each sapling is well bedded into the soil – skilled foresters can plant around 400 trees a day,” Mike concludes. “Thankfully, a team were on hand to assist me!”

Core Products is proud of its longstanding commitment to ensuring the wood it uses is from such wellmanaged sources, and is thankful for its customers’ involvement in its planting initiatives

Core Products has sold wood products for over 30 years, and for a good proportion of that time has sourced from southern Brazil, where the land quality and temperate climate provide ideal growing conditions for pine trees.“Over 7% of the entire state is indigenous forest which is legally protected, and a further 31% of the land mass is plantation-managed forests, which cover over 29 million square metres,” says Mike. “At 65% of all farmed land, the region’s biggest agricultural industry is forestry. Managed plantations in Brazil cover almost 80 million hectares, which is over 50 times the amount of managed forest here in the UK.

“The forest will then be cleared, and the soil turned and cleared of roots, which, along with any bark and branches, are mulched back into the soil as a natural fertiliser – nothing is wasted. The land will then be replanted in a matter of weeks.

“A Brazilian pine tree will offset roughly 0.5 tonnes of CO2 during its 20year lifespan – this being the optimum time to ensure the wood is of the best quality. Any longer, and the tree will harden and become more brittle as the maturity process slows.

Core Products recognises their importance, and first introduced its Core Cares environmental initiative over 15 years ago, ensuring direct involvement in the traceability of the raw materials it uses – and involving many visits over the years to its factories and their sources …

From purifying the air we breathe to providing materials for our homes, trees are integral to our lives.

43 GREENWOOD RETAIL LTD Your Leading Experts in Retail Sales Promotion GENERATE 15 WEEKS SALES IN 3 WEEKS… “It’s been Fantastic! Our Greenwood Sale delivered a good 30% of annual bed sales in 3 weeks…” “…A remarkable result when you factor in the dreadful state of the current market. One supplier rang to ask why we were so busy when everyone else is doing nothing! And your Event Manager, what a lovely guy. Everyone liked him and we would have him back – I would employ him tomorrow! We’ve already booked the next Greenwood Sale!” Paul Meehan. M.D. Time for Bed Ltd, Sale, Gtr. Manchester. “Don’t Hire a Marketing Company Until You’ve Seen Greenwood…” Find Out More About Greenwood Sales… Learn all about the new super-effective Greenwood Digital Sales Campaign. Call me on 07771 700247 to discuss the exciting possibilities for your next big sales event without obligation or, send an e mail enquiry with your contact details and I’ll call you… BOOKING 2023 SALES NOW CALL BERNARD EATON 07771 700247 GreenwoodRetail_Sep2022.indd 1 12/08/2022 15:26 NEXT MONTH’S ISSUE This autumn, join the hundreds of voices that make themselves heard across the pages of Furniture News and our online channels! Together with the latest in BEDROOM, DINING, LIVING and TRADE SERVICES, October’s issue will carry the following special features: • ECO CONSCIOUS – the latest in furniture sustainability theory and practice • EXHIBITION AND DISPLAY STANDS – the experts making product displays more welcoming Want to be part of the furniture trade’s favourite read? Contact Sam Horscroft on 07764 650655 or email WEDNESDAYsam@gearingmediagroup.comBOOKBY14THSEPTEMBER FIND YOUR VOICE

The company’s network of trusted partners means that both customers and retailers can feel confident that any concerns which may arise with a product will be resolved quickly and to a high standard by an independent technician. Each recliner, sofa and chair is manufactured to an extremely high standard, says La-Z-Boy UK, so problems are not commonplace –but the servicing and repair service offers peace of mind to both La-Z-Boy stockists and the end-customer.


La-Z-Boy UK provides a comprehensive aftersales care and repair service to ensure complete satisfaction and to extend the life of its products. La-Z-Boy UK works with a number of approved and trusted partners nationwide, which have been tasked with servicing all the brand’s furniture in the UK and carrying out repairs when needed. Depending on the furniture concern in question and the customer’s location, a suitable service partner can be appointed to resolve the majority of issues, states the manufacturer.


All this allows retailers to sell the brand with confidence, knowing that customers will be able to enjoy their chair or sofa for many years to come At La-Z-Boy UK, products are built to last with a 10-year limited warranty as standard – but the brand’s commitment to quality and delivering exceptional customer service does not end once each sofa or chair is manufactured and sold …



Servicing is available too on products which have been owned for more than a year, but a call-out fee of £50 + VAT is payable.La-Z-Boy UK also works hard to supply spare parts – providing they are still available – and the company is rolling out a number of aftersales accessories such as care kits and lithium-ion batteries to enhance the customer’s experience of the product.

All technicians have been fully trained to make sure they have all the knowledge and skills required to repair and service all La-Z-Boy UK products, from both the current range and the olderWhencollections.acustomer reports a problem with their La-Z-Boy product, the retailer can send through a service request form and the issue will then be resolved in the most effective way possible.

Best described as high-design rugs, the collection comprises Abstract Blue, Orange Drip, Scroll, Faces, Fantasy, Dorado and Street Graph. Each design homages a specific artist, and is available in a range of standard rug sizes, as well as a special ‘tapestry’ size measuring 100 x 140cm for wall hanging.


“Just because summer is technically over, it doesn’t mean you need to put your garden sets away (or cover them up with our Home Junction rain covers) until next spring,” states the supplier.

“Make the most of your outdoor living spaces by adding in some of the beautiful new heaters from our sister brand Fogo & Chama, to keep those evenings outside

warm and cosy! This year’s model is finished in stainless steel, and comes with a colour-changing light and a Bluetoothconnected speaker, bringing the heat and the party Throughoutoutside!”September, Home Junction is offering a free heater with every new set sold (see the brand’s website for full T&Cs).

The Gallery Collection from Louis de Poortere brings colourful and modern works of art to well-made rugs. Whether hanging as a wall tapestry or softening the block parquet floor of a stylish living space, The Gallery Collection is unmistakably midcentury modern. Inspired by the works of famous artists such as Pollock, Picasso and Mondrian, the rug collection brings bold and energising statement designs that are suitable for any homes inspired by the popular interior decoration style.

Sales director Alan Russell says: “Our designers have thrown caution to the wind with The Gallery Collection and created some truly beautiful pieces that feel more like art.”

Shoppers can visualise products in their own homes with the new augmented reality (AR) tool on La-Z-Boy UK’s website.

La-Z-Boy UK’s new Lawton range is an off-the-floor design that promises to turn heads in the showroom. Set to be popular with a wide range of consumers, its discreet recline mechanism offers style alongside comfort.



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Simba’s ambition has always been much more than selling the most comfortable and innovative mattress – and the brand has always wanted to offer the world a greater service, with the firm belief that everyone has the right to a good night’s sleep.

“While all Simba mattresses are 100% recyclable, we have consciously designed the Simba GO with a view to making the whole disassembling and recycling process even easier. It’s another important step for Simba towards being circular”

Simba has unveiled Green Organic (GO), its most organic mattress to date – at a time in which sleep quality has never been more important, the brand reports …


“Our design promise is to deliver cutting-edge sleep technology that helps counter the disastrous health effects of poor sleep and improve the daily life and health of every sleeper around the world,” says Emma.

Studies have shown that two out of every three adults experienced a decline in sleep quality since the start of the pandemic, states Simba – and that getting less than six hours of quality sleep a night doubles the risk of cancer, while poor sleep is the biggest single cause of mental health issues.

Simba says that these findings are frightening, when one considers that 44% of the UK population say they struggle with sleep, 64% of poor sleepers have at least one physical health disorder, and 48% of adults and two-thirds of teenagers (66%) agree that sleeping badly has a negative effect on their mental Championinghealth.advances in sustainable sleep architecture, and challenging its engineers to balance smart design, technology and nature to generate a lower-impact mattress with half the carbon emissions of a traditional hybrid mattress, Simba has unveiled the Green OrganicHandmade(GO). from naturally biodegradable, renewable or recycled materials, Simba’s most organic mattress to date is striving to make the planet a better place, one sleep at a time. The Simba GO blends six layers of sustainable, organic materials with technologically advanced ones – all in “cool, comfortable, sustainable harmony”.Believing that a better-rested population will be happier and develop less health issues over time, Simba’s head of sustainability, Emma Reid, says it is clear that “what’s good for our health must also be good for the planet. Today, our mission is to not only be the most innovative sleep tech brand in the world, but also the most responsible”.

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“We are proud of our Planet Mark certification for Nemoflex, and work with the organisation to ensure that we are continuously improving”

With a mission to create sounder sleep solutions for people and the planet, Millbrook Beds is forging new directions in sustainable mattresses and recycling solutions …

SMOOTH AND SUSTAINABLE CompanyBedMillbrookThefrom3000,CrescentSmoothTech

SmoothTech is a collection of chemical and foam free mattresses by Millbrook Beds which offers a range of tensions to suit all sleep preferences. These sustainable mattresses are handmade in the New Forest, and are designed with responsible end-of-life recycling in mind. Offering superior levels of comfort, each mattress is made entirely from natural and recycled materials, with no foam in sight. Six different firmness ratings are catered for, and every mattress features Hampshire Wool layers underneath a smooth and tuft-free sleeping surface – a design feature unique to Millbrook, states the manufacturer.TheNemoFlex core system inside the SmoothTech range of mattresses features between 1000 and 5000 encapsulated pocket springs, and is designed for comfort and breathability. A design for simple deconstruction means every part can be professionally regenerated or repurposed at speed and with ease, minimising how many mattresses end up in landfill each year.

Millbrook’s new mattress recycling scheme was launched earlier this year to ensure that every part of the mattress is regenerated or reused. This is the only mattress scheme in the UK where zero waste goes to landfill, states Millbrook.In2021, Millbrook diverted over 12 million plastic bottles from landfill with its Nemoflex core system, and its goal for 2022 is to reach 16 million – and it is on track to achieve this.


“A huge 7.5 million mattresses end up in UK landfill every single year. If they were all laid out end to end, the line would stretch from London to Perth, Australia,” explains Millbrook’s Ross Thurston. “We were so shocked by this, and imagined a world where you wouldn’t ever have to send a mattress to landfill – and came up with the Nemoflex and our recycling scheme in response.“Wewanted to create a product and recycling scheme which would bring the change needed to reduce the huge number of mattresses which sit in landfill in the UK. With Nemoflex, we are ensuring that our mattresses leave no trace on our planet with our end-of-life recycling scheme.

THE EXPERTS IN SLEEP* ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZPerfectZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZsleep.Asimple statement that lies at the very heart of our business. That’s why we have been burning the midnight oil for nine months, developing and refining our new range. Because innovation never sleeps. THE NEW COLLECTIONS PREVIEW AT INDX BEDS AND BEDROOM SHOW 13TH & 14TH SEPTEMBER AND THE NBF BED SHOW TELFORD 20TH & 21ST SEPTEMBER INNOVATION NEVER SLEEPS BY MILLBROOK BED CO Furniture News 2022 READERS’ CHOICE WINNERAWARDS

This year’s NBF Bed Show, taking place in Telford from 20th-21st this month, will see the release of Sweet Dreams’ new 2023 brochure, which contains a comprehensive new range of mattresses, frames, TV and hybrid beds, as well as the manufacturer’s bestselling bases and most popular mattresses.

The Bed Show will also see the launch of a refreshed and renewed online-exclusive mattress offer, based on Sweet Dreams’ bestselling designs, and coupled with its Evolve bases and headboards. All data, images and product details will soon be available in a simple, ready-to-go format, making it easy for retailers to upload products for“Oursale.efficient and reliable DHD service will complete the circle, and make Sweet Dreams’ online offer a nobrainer,” concludes Nick


Sweet Dreams has risen to the challenges of the hour by investing time and resource in the development of new mattresses, with a focus on highquality, high-value models that promise to deliver strong sales and margin for the supplier’s independent stockists. Sales manager Nick Williams comments: “As well as the continuing success of our own-manufactured upholstered beds, significant investment has enabled us to produce new designled frames in some fantastic, luxurious and sumptuous new fabrics. In addition, we have added further colour options for our bestselling hybrid frames and TV beds.”Contemporary styles, packed with high-quality materials, demonstrate the manufacturer’s ambition to become a go-to supplier for any retailer seeking upholstered beds with a difference. “Coupled with our fabulous mattresses – including benefits such as being hand side stitched, free from FR chemicals, and wellbeing themes – Sweet Dreams can deliver a winning combination for your customers,” Nick continues. SWEETENING THE DEAL bedframesnewDreams’SweetofOne EleganceBethany BODY POSITIVE WE WANTED TO PROVIDE A TOTALLY UNIQUE MATTRESS THAT EVERYTHINGASIDESTANDSFROMELSE, AND WE REALLY HAVE ACHIEVED JUST THAT 52 PRODUCTS BEDROOM

With over 100 years’ experience of making premium mattresses through the generations, Sealy’s decades of know-how has helped develop its brand-new product direction, which is also based on cutting-edge technology and research.

In every Sealy Posturepedic mattress, the spring system is upheld by a number of additional unique features.

Sealy UK is on a mission to the bed industry with its new Posturepedic mattress range, which promises to help provide everyone with correct spinal alignment while they sleep …

The new Posturepedic range, which is now available to retailers, has been designed around skeletal symmetry – to help hold the body’s posture parallel to the sleep surface, align hips and shoulders, and keep the spine straight, yet relaxed, offering everyone “genuine support, true comfort and durability you can depend on”.


The UniCased edge-support system maximises the sleep surface across the mattress, preventing the roll-off and adding durability – while BasePlank offers a strong foundation, providing structure and integrity.

Sealy has worked with the Orthopaedic Advisory Board, an independent panel of Orthopaedic surgeons, biomechanical engineers and medical scientists, to develop the patented technology. The mattresses also benefit from extensive testing via Sealy’s advanced R&D facility in Australia.Attheheart of the new range is the unique AlignSupport Coil. A spring system which “senses and responds to the body”, it first senses the body and provides an initial response, then provides truly personalised, deep-down support which helps maintain the body’s natural posture during rest, reducing muscular tension and strain, says Sealy.

“The combination of smart innovation, precise engineering, industry-leading research and unique testing to ensure quality and durability, is what makes Sealy Posturepedic different, providing unparalleled sleep quality, says Sealy UK’s sales director, Mark Tuley. “We wanted to provide a totally unique mattress that stands aside from everything else, and we really have achieved just that. This year marks the start of a new era for Sealy, and we plan to continue to innovate. It’s an exciting timeTheindeed.”brandhas also enjoyed a repositioning, including a relaunched website, which was designed to deliver an enhanced shopping experience to support Sealy’s retail partners, and also features an online shopper tool which guides consumers through the buying experience

Combining a range of feature filling combinations and a high-quality and durable Comfort Core within each mattress (such as gel-infused foam or MemorySense foam – the Elevate and Elevate Ultra collections also provide that all-important pressure relief where it is needed most.

It’s where sleep matters, where sleep is not just “something we all do”, or “time spent in bed” but more a question of when, where, why and how sleep can be better.

It’s our wholehearted commitment that allows the Sealy team to make mattresses that are not only different but made with love, passion & care right here in the UK.




Award-winning German bedroom manufacturer Wiemann is exhibiting at various trade shows throughout the autumn. Simon Hewitt, MD of the producer’s sole UK and Irish agent, Litmus Furniture, says: “We are attending the NBF Bed Show, Telford, September 20th-21st, as a guest exhibitor –find us on stand G70. Also: the AIS INDX Beds & Bedroom show, September 13-14th; Autumn Long Point, Long Eaton, September 19th21st (in our permanent showroom); and the Autumn Furniture Show, Stoneleigh, October 4-5th.” Wiemann will exhibit collections including the ever-popular Monaco and Loft, plus new stars such as Asmara, which launched this year.Simon adds: “Expect to be impressed with the quality and value for money of our VIP premium offerings. Our entry-level products offer a very attractive price tag for the current market conditions, too. All our ranges are versatile as well as beautiful, and everything we offer is underpinned by our excellent customer service.”

Create your perfect bedroom with Wiemann made in germany Quito Bedrooms of distinctive style, quality and value


With its reputation for healthy, clean living, it is little wonder Sweden has such a strong track record of luxury bed manufacture – and Mattsons is an exemplar of the country’s conscientious craft. The brand dates back to 1851, when founder Isak Mattson set up a sawmill on the family estate in Malmbäck Småland, an area of Sweden that has been associated with fine furnituremaking for centuries. Today, each Mattsons bed is painstakingly handcrafted in Falkenberg, utilising only local materials, and, having established itself as a household name in Scandinavia, Mattsons is now on a mission to introduce its luxury sleep solutions to the wider world. Its UK deployment has fallen to well-known furniture sales agent, Colin Boyce (‘The Bed Agent’). When he was approached by Mattsons’ principals, Colin quickly recognised the opportunity for the premium bed brand to work wonders for select retailers. “I’ve operated in the UK bed sector for some time, and I can honestly say that these models represent a whole new level of quality,” he says.

The collection is underpinned by a comprehensive bespoke programme, which UK partners will also be able to avail of. Anders Mattson, the company’s owner and a fifth-generation member of Mattsons’ founding family, comments: “At Mattsons, the vision is for the customer, to a great extent, to be able to determine the look and style that best suits their home, their personality. From eccentric cool to classic elegance. Your choice. After all, it is your bedroom.”

“I can’t wait to to introduce the Mattsons concept to the UK,” Colin continues. “I think the sheer quality of its range is going to make a lot of retailers re-evaluate their notion of luxury.”

The new showroom features Mattsons’ full range of beds and mattresses, and promises to be the ideal setting for this exclusive brand.

Globally, Mattsons operates through 16 strategically located showrooms – 11 of them in Europe. Colin’s first step was to establish a national showroom so prospective customers would have an opportunity to see the brand’s quality for themselves.Heselected a well-appointed space in Topsham, near Exeter, within the Dartmoor Bed Company’s facilities –Unit 2 Dart Business Park, opposite Darts Farm, just two miles from Exeter Airport and five minutes from the M5 – and is now inviting interested parties to attend an official launch event there, taking place from 14-16th this month.

Colin can be contacted on callingthefurnitureandbedagent.comcolin@orby07876198938

With a history stretching all the way back to 1851, luxury handmade bed brand Mattsons is in a different league, says its new UK agent, Colin Boyce –and buyers are invited to see the latest models for themselves in Devon this month …


Weavers organic sustainable fabrics are easily biodegradable in nature…

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Furniture Makers’ Company the furnishing industry’s charit y The Young Furniture Makers exhibition returns to the City of London for one day only this October, offering industry the opportunity to connect with young, creative designer-makers, who are looking to make an impact on the sector. Organised by The Furniture Makers’ Company, the event showcases the very best furniture and furnishing design talent from GCSE students to recent graduates. 12 October 2022 3.00pm - 9.00pm Furniture Makers’ Hall and the Dutch Church, Austin Friars, London Register  FurnitureMakersCompany  The Furniture Makers’ Company  FurnitureMkrsCo #YFMexhibition 58 PRODUCTS BEDROOM


Anyone interested


partnering with Hugel can get in touch with the team by calling 0333 222 1804 or emailing HUGEL SPONSORS AND SUPPORTERS


onboard retailers

Several established furniture retailers have already joined mission to “bring the health and lifestyle benefits of a motion bed to Hugel collection encompasses innovative smart comfort technology and British manufacturing, to create premium adjustable beds for the home. Delivering “the ultimate sleep and relaxation experience”, a Hugel bed comprises features such as zero-gravity, massage and anti-snore, pushing the boundaries of the conventional adjustable bed. impressive stocking capabilities and efficient delivery, continues to looking to appeal to a new type of customer. in

PREMIUM ADJUSTABLE BEDS DeliveryRapid StockGenerousHoldingHomeServiceInstallation 0333 222

“One database, from sales order to production, removes the chance of error,” states 3CAD. “Guided by powerful parametric rules from the start, your catalogue management will ensure that what is ordered can be produced, no matter how complex.

“One connected platform ensures full visibility of orders, enabling manufacturers to speed up sales and manufacturing of the products that deliver what every company wants –growth,” states 3CAD. “With specialists that have over 20 years’ experience in the visual CPQ industry, customers like Natuzzi, Cassina, Catellan Italia and many others have benefitted from our knowledge and software to expand their businesses.”3CADoffers a complete solution, from sales to production. At the outset, powerful parametric software, which automates all the information needed for production, enables users to easily configure each product in 3D, and to manage rules, variants and options, giving them complete control throughout the production process.

Production management is optimised – retailers and manufacturers use a single system, resulting in complete visibility of all orders. Sales and production teams can then optimise their processes to meet requirements, as every order shows the bill of materials, production lists and CNC production details.

“And you can design without limits, managing and designing entire apartments, houses and other complex environments, while maintaining performance and fluidity.

Users can take advantage of 3CAD’s web-based system to manage all activities, starting at the design phase. They will benefit from a fully integrated solution at every stage of the process, from sales to production, which reduces the risk of error, speeds up processes and optimises the internal flow of data, from design to production.

As the customer visually configures and prices their product online, their order is then seamlessly processed and managed all the way through to the CNC machines for manufacturing.

“Automatically generate information for your CNC machines – drilling, cutting and edging, directly from the drawing – and gain full control of your catalogues by managing them easily in-house, ensuring that every update to your products looks exactly as it should. New catalogues and changes can instantly be updated across your entire sales network to ensure complete consistency.”Aspartofthe Compusoft+ 2020 group, 3CAD enjoys an international network through its subsidiaries and partners across the world. 3CAD says its ability to streamline the sales-toproduction process in a single, cloudbased platform truly sets it apart from the competition 3CAD, a dynamic and fast-growing visual CPQ (configure, price and quote) software specialist, promises furniture brands an inituitive and joined-up route to the customer’s home …

JOINED-UP THINKING FROM 3CAD detailinspecifiedbecandesignsProduct configurecanUsers3Dinproducteach customershelprenders3D productfinishedthevisualise 62 PRODUCTS TRADE SERVICES


YOTFC Ye Olde FurnitureTraditionalCompany WE’RE FLYING THE FLAG! All our tables are made,painted and nished in the UK. All of our chairs are quality, European models and nished & upholstered in the UK We can ful l your requirements with no stress or hassle and meet your customers bespoke requirements ALWAYS GOING THE EXTRA MILE ! Call us on 01604 890956 email or visit our website UNIVERSAL EXTENDER TOP AVAILABLE IN OAK OR PINE LEGS FARMHOUSE SQUARE OR TAPER THE COTSWOLD OAK SHAKER SET AVAILABLE IN EITHER PINE OR OAK

Prior to delivery, all end-customers are sent a bespoke animated video that provides a simple three-step guide to how best to prepare their property for the delivery of furniture – helping prevent any unnecessary damage to the product and the customer’s home. FOR THE JOURNEY CDCParkMagnanewcompany’stheatsiteonteamRhenus’ofSome delivertotrainedarespecialistsRhenus’ servicein-homeeffectivemostthe 64 PRODUCTS TRADE SERVICES

Rhenus says the delivery animation has helped improve customer engagement by +57.6% in comparison to its previous SMS and email communications.

With its skilled delivery specialists entrusted with entering consumers’ homes, Rhenus Home Delivery UK is committed to providing exemplary customer care across its client base …

Rhenus Home Delivery UK has also partnered with what3words to ensure the accuracy of its deliveries, and to cut search times. This location technology is synced to the fulfilment specialist’s transport management system, significantly increasing delivery success – particularly in rural areas and newbuild estates. At the property, Rhenus’ dedicated driver team will deliver to the customer’s desired room of choice. Following the unwrapping of the furniture, the packaging will be removed, to be bundled and recycled at one of Rhenus’ certified local recycling companies.Afterdelivery, a dedicated customer care team are readily available to assist the end-customer with any issues that may arise throughout the delivery process. The service Rhenus continues to deliver is reflected in its Trustpilot score, which remains at five stars after over 9200 reviews

Over the past few months, Rhenus has taken targeted steps to elevate its customer journey. This begins within its central distribution centre, where multiple quality control checks are delivered throughout all inbound and outbound deliveries as a preventative measure. Specialised training has been delivered to warehouse and driver staff, as they are the primary point of contact with customers. This is facilitated through Rhenus’ industry-leading Academy of Excellence, which strives to ensure that all staff members at Rhenus Home Delivery UK are providing the highest level of customer service.

Findoutmoreaboutmembershipbyvisiting Tel: +44 (0)1536 410 000 SATRA supporting- you SATRA Technology has launched a new furniture and floor coverings membership package, specifically tailored to meet the needs of these Membershipindustries. provides businesses with a range of benefits such as bespoke technical support and advice through our technical team, helping businesses to understand current legislation, influence new standards and develop product specifications. Also included are testing discounts, 20% of the annual subscription value returned in the form of vouchers and access to SATRA’s new online Furniture & Floor Covering Hub, a go-to repository for the latest industry news, technical information on standards and regulatory requirements, as well as industry focussed features such as polls.

“We are proud to be ahead of the curve in catering for the variety of manufacturing sectors who are looking to or considering the transition to automation that will soon be necessary,” says technical director, Shaun. “Having become known as a provider of proactive preventative solutions to problems that some manufacturers sometimes don’t even see – but certainly experience – we have also been hot in implementing elements of our range, at design and installation, that prevent issues such as bottlenecks, material run-out and downtime.“It’sgreat that we can react and devise solutions with our robust and reliable machines, and are the chosen provider for our customers, here in the UK and across the world. Our intuitive, preventative approach means that our reputation remains built around our quality range that exceeds the requirements of the factories and facilities we are installed in.” As well as serving its customers in the UK, 70% of MattressTek’s business is exported across the US, Mexico, Europe and Australia. “We are already known in the industry for our innovative machines used in the making of mattresses, and their transportation around factories and processing facilities, as well as leaders in the automation field of manufacturing,” explains Michael. “We even repair, adapt and improve machines that have broken down.“The benefits of automating, supported by programmable technology, laser guides and sensors, are proven in the transition to using machines in place of, and alongside, operatives. Automating production processes deals with staff shortages and lags in labour being faced here in the UK, and the US, and streamlines production, increases the capacity and amounts of products made, contributing to efficiency, preventing downtime and bottlenecks and saving money and time.”

With innovation and efficiency the buzzwords of the moment, British machinery manufacturer MattressTek is proud to have established itself as a leader in the provision of machines for the mattress industry – including foam processing – with successful exports across the world. BEHIND THE BEDMAKERS 66 PRODUCTS TRADE SERVICES WE ARE AHEAD OF THE CURVE IN CATERING FOR MANUFACTURING CONSIDERINGSECTORS THE TRANSITION AUTOMATIONTO

MattressTek understands how maximisation and speeding up of production and better utilisation of resources can modernise its customers’ operations and make better use of the space and technology available to them – whether it is filling gaps in production (so it does not have to stop to turn, move, flip, lift or align components) by adding multiple machines as a backup, managing and preventing a bottleneck from occuring, or enabling machines to manoeuvre allowing operators and machines to pass through. Along with its extensive range of stitching and panel-cutting machines, and straight-line and multi-directional conveyors, MattressTek has been refining the development of machines for unbaling and unwrapping pocketspring beds, as well as those that can compress and roll springs and complete mattresses.“Theexpansion of the business, and our ability to branch into other sectors of manufacturing, along with warehousing, logistics and processing, has further proven the efficiency and quality of our range, and, indeed, the demand for it,” Shaun adds. This success has enabled MattressTek to expand its workforce and site, and the business is planning further investment. For details of its machines, including the new Hot Glue Bridge, Stacker, Roll Pack and improved Roll Slitter, take a look at MattressTek’s catalogue online

Directors Shaun Peel and Michael Birtwistle have over 40 years’ worth of combined experience in the industry, and are strong advocates for automation in production lines, supporting the transition to digital manufacturing, Industry 4.0, efficiency and sustainability, as well as dealing with the imminent labour shortage.

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Manchester-based ecommerce agency Fluid Commerce has launched a progessive web app (PWA) for new home furnishing brand Daily Furniture, a subsidiary of wholesale company Arca Living (established in 2014) which supplies indoor furniture and home furnishings.

“The home furnishings market is fiercely competitive, with quality and service being an absolute must. Our choice of delivery partner is vital, as the lastmile service is an extension of our own business in many ways.

The new site has a host of features to smooth the sales process for the modern-day consumer, including integrations with marketing automation platform Klaviyo and payment providers Adyen, Klarna and Paypal. The PWA also features quicker synchronisation, instant updates, offline utilisation, and enhanced performance.



Samuel Scott, Panther’s head of sales and marketing, comments: “Through Swyft Home’s ability to provide a unique solution the company has grown exponentially, developing a strong brand presence within the home furnishings marketplace. It is a tremendous success story and we are delighted to be supporting them as they continue their upwardKeirantrajectory.”Hewkinadds:

Built using PWA Studio from Adobe Commerce, Daily Furniture’s new site combines useful features from web and mobile apps to improve site speed and boost conversion rates. Arnold Bertasius, marketing director at Arca Living, says: “In choosing to launch our new website as a progressive web app, we will provide an app-like experience for the consumers, which is what we are all accustomed to right now. Rather than just your average website, this is more of a futuristic stance. We are hoping to be one of the pioneers of the furniture industry by experimenting with this approach on Adobe Commerce.”

Fluid Commerce MD Adam Hindle comments: “We were delighted that Daily Furniture came to us with this project, as PWA is one of our specialities. The site will deliver an enhanced customer online shopping experience with the added ‘app-like’ features of enhanced performance, rapid load times and offline implementation.Theseareexciting times, as Daily Furniture is among the first in the furniture industry to harness the full power and features of a PWA.”

Panther is Swyft’s sole delivery partner, collecting daily from the brand’s warehouse in Luton at 7pm for next-day delivery, with an order cut-off time of 4pm. Swyft’s customers benefit from a range of Panther’s services including next- and nominated-day delivery, and full track and trace from point of order through to delivery. Panther will also deliver to the customer’s room of choice and ensure that all packaging is removed and taken away, and weekend delivery is available.

To Swyft’s co-founder Keiran Hewkin, the purchase journey and experience of ordering high-ticket upholstery –often resulting in a 12-week wait at best before delivery – was just not satisfactory, and Swyft’s box concept followed. Panther too seeks to provide a fuss-free, best-in-class service offering.

“Panther’s customer-centric approach sets the company aside from the competition, and is one which resonates with our own aim of ensuring customer satisfaction. By using Panther, we are confident that we can provide our customers with a level of service and flexibility synonymous with our own, further reinforcing our own reputation in the marketplace for delivering a quality product which surpasses all others.”



Sofa-in-a-box specialist Swyft Home has once again teamed up with twoperson delivery service provider Panther Logistics to provide the a delivery solution for its ever-growing customer base.

AGR understands that supply chain disruptions can have significant impact on a your business. Its clients in the furniture have told it that longer lead times, coupled with supply chain shortages, have resulted in lost sales –and even penalties.

The AGR Inventory Optimisation Solution is an add-on to any ERP system, providing an end-to-end view of a company’s supply chain and assisting with demand forecasting and planning, ordering and maximising container space, and much more.


“Another key benefit of using a system like ours is automation. Removing all the simple, repetitive, and mundane activities which can instead be handled by technology, frees up your team to apply their specifically human capabilities – judgment, creativity, and innovation – to the issues that truly require“Holdingthem.less stock also makes it easier to manage your inventory. Cash flow is freed up through reduced storage, handling, and distribution costs. And by reducing the risk of overstocks, you minimise the markdowns and reductions required to shift dead stock that are so damaging to your margins.”


The Furniture Industry Research Association has extended its suite of business support templates for members. Topics covered in the latest series include: a Flammability Tracker Template to support members in demonstrating they have documented systems that show compliance to relevant flammability requirements; a Sustainability Key Performance Indicator dashboard to help improve their organisation’s sustainability performance; and a Furniture Product Risk Assessment Template to help analyse and identify possible risks of the products and determine essential requirements that are applicable. To view the full suite of business support documents, visit the association’s knowledge hub via the above link. Non-members can purchase research association resources too – further details are available from


“Take control of your supply chain with AGR and have the right products, in the right place, at the right time,” states AGR. “Using the features of the AGR system you can look to maximise container revenue, ensuring that each container or pallet is as full as can be with high-profit or high-demand items, and stay one step ahead with features such as the planning tool with multidimensional planning capabilities that look beyond the forecast at all potential scenarios, as well as having an accurate view of your entire supply chain.

The charity also plans to launch a free service that will support workers struggling with mental health issues. To find out more,

The Furniture Makers’ Company is inviting HR professionals working in the trade to a free one-day conference this September to learn about the charity’s welfare support and how it can benefit the lives of employees who might be struggling due to the cost of living crisis.

The Welfare Matters conference is taking place on Wednesday 28th September (10am-3pm) at Furniture Makers’ Hall, London. Delegates will learn about the charity, the various grants it can offer people, the communication tools available to disseminate information, and more.


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Leggett & Platt Springs UK will be exhibiting at this year’s NBF Bed Show (taking place in Telford on 20th-21st September), where it will showcase a range of its leading bed component products, including: NanoCoil, an adaptive and receptive comfort layer that enhances the sleep surface by increasing coil counts, improving air circulation, and delivering long-term comfort and consistency; NanoCoil Edge – versatile and responsive, this solution transitions firmer ActivEdge perimeter support into the comfort layer to expand the sleep surface and prevent roll-off; Caliber Edge, which forms a steel coil perimeter around select pocket systems to deliver consistent support and offer longer and more resilient edge-to-edge comfort life; its nextgeneration 2000 Series technology, an ultrasonically welded multi-layer innerspring innovation that achieves “a superior level of comfort and performance not possible with firm, single-layer 2000 units”; Combi-Zone Next-Generation Technology (featuring ActivEdge perimeter performance), which offers different levels of comfort resolution and support dimension to match key body support zones and deliver pressure relief for all body types; and S-Line, a pocketed innerspring soltuion that purports to deliver the same comfort and support as the supplier’s standard innersprings, but in a lighter weight, representing additional value.

The reality is that furniture prices have been too low for too long, and that this sharp upward price adjustment is not surprising. Furniture became so relatively cheap and affordable that it engendered a much shorter replacement cycle. I don’t think people need to be persuaded to pay more for furniture, because if they want to change anything they are having to pay more due to market conditions anyway.

The pandemic, and with it enormous Government spending on support measures, has been the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back, igniting inflation. The consumer boom brought about through paying people to do nothing for months at a time and a lack of holidays, etc, leading to having lots of spare money, was a perfect storm. Yes, much of this inflation is transitory and short term, but the Ukraine crisis has served only to exacerbate it.

THE RETAILER VIEW Huw Williams (Toons Furnishers): Prices are now at the limit which most customers will bear. However, with long delays on most products, anything that can be supplied quickly could attract a premium over the normal retail for that quick availability, giving better margins.

Achieving better margins without executing substantial price rises can only be achieved by suppliers being more realistic. I believe many have taken the opportunity of the pandemic to ‘bake in’ their own margin increases above what raw material price increases necessitate, which retailers have to absorb if they want to keep prices down. After a decade or more of tight cost

Having negotiated one challenge after another in recent years, we’re now some months into a cost of living crisis that threatens to create significant hardship and recession. Here, Paul Farley asks the furniture trade how operators might create better margins without implementing substantial price hikes – and if consumers can be persuaded to pay more for furniture right now …

THE PRICE IS RIGHT? 72 OPINION iStock/DNY59)courtesy(photopurchases?big-ticketfacilitatetoremainsmuchhowbut–pandemictheduringmoneysavedMany

Against a backdrop of unprecedented material cost rises, the war in Ukraine put further pressure on materials like timber, and set in motion a chain of soaring energy costs.

The current ‘crisis’ has been coming for years. Since the ‘Credit Crunch’, governments around the world have pursued a policy of expanding the money supply through quantitative easing, alongside historically low interest rates. Money had been too cheap for too long, and a benign, low-inflation environment was not considered a problem, as China’s expansion supressed prices globally.

Anecdotally, it seems that many material prices are levelling out – but prices remain high, and uncertainty remains.

Peter Harding (Fairway Furniture):

Many had no option but to share the burden with their customers. In April, inflation was running at 7% – the highest in three decades – with furniture prices up 17% YoY. With few signs of improvement and weakening consumer confidence, the trend continued into the summer. Shop prices were up +16.6% in June, reported the BFM.

control, many retailers, like ourselves, have little or no scope to absorb these cost price rises. If anything, a market slowdown will mean we have to reduce consumer prices to retain market share, at the cost of profitability.

Consumers are seeing increases across all products and sectors, so why should furniture be shielded from the current utilities, fuel and sterling issues? What you look to do is sell the benefits that you and your products offer, extolling the value you offer to the price-conscious consumer in one sale whilst focusing on design with the next. What you must try to avoid is cutting specification costs to increase margins. You are going to get found out and have a longer negative effect on your business. If the product needs changing, so be it, but you should strive to be upfront with your customer.

Harnessing technology to save wages when staff leave is the key for me. Electronic systems that enable sales staff to do the inputting so nothing is double entered. A price ticket system where current costs and RRPs can be imported with one click and price tickets just print off. A web system where product can be added to the site that is already in an online library. That can save another three wages there.

Flexibility in service, with greatquality product and sensible pricing, will hopefully see businesses through a difficult trading period.

Personally, I see huge value in retailers developing their own brands to allow them to create more margin. Many of the big brands are going down the D2C route, and margins overall are much tighter. The brand should really be the name above the door …

THE SUPPLIER VIEW Rob King (Julian Bowen): In the current climate, it’s impossible to not pass on increases, especially when the near future offers little change.

Mark Gannon (Sofa Source): Creating better margins can be done by increasing the specifications within furniture. Technology is getting more and more cost effective to include in sofas, and it’s something the customers are craving. The inclusion of electrical features in sofas such as USB/wireless charging, cooler cup holders and Bluetooth sound creates more value for the end-user while allowing for increased margins. Offering more value to the customer will in turn persuade them to pay more for the item. Although increasing prices are inevitable, adding these value propositions to the pieces will soften the blow.

Neil Barker (Barkers Furniture): No-one can afford to be uncompetitive. A customer needs to know they are getting value – but that’s clearly not always about being cheaper.


I believe it is actually irresponsible to absorb cost increases. It is my responsibility to ensure the long-term security of the business to ensure we continue to service our past, present and future customers, and also protect my teams’ livelihoods. This can only be achieved by ensuring both expenditure is managed and margins are protected.

Steve Adams (Mattress Online): In the short term, yes, we can keep inching prices up – I believe there is still disposable income floating around. If we move into a sustained recession with high inflation we will inevitably end up sacrificing margin – unless you have the cash reserves and cash flow to weather the storm and wait for the next boom cycle.


Steve Pickering (Sussex Beds): Improving efficiency is our strategy to combat rising costs, and I believe it is best for our customers too. We have just signed off a £200,000 investment programme to overhaul our entire IT infrastructure, replacing the current multitudes of systems with a singular ERP system. The ERP will provide one singular source for all data, which will remove double and triple entry throughout the business. New integrated warehousing and logistics software will greatly improve the quality and speed of stock management across the business. Automated route planning and vehicle capacity management will optimise fulfilment. Business, departmental and team performance management will also be improved with the introduction of real-time data dashboards for every department and individual, providing them with their key KPIs on demand. I do believe our customers can be persuaded to pay more. Our ‘why’, our ‘purpose’, is to provide a great night’s sleep, and this is our non-negotiable. Consumers who shop with us are seeking a great bed which will meet their needs, and to sacrifice either the quality of our products or our service would not be accepable.

Royce Clark (Collier & Clark Group):

To continue to be cost effective you must be embedded in your production’s facilities. At Sofa Source we are involved every step of the way, including sourcing and costing the raw materials which our production facilities use. It’s only with these kind of cost controls we can effectively curb the inflation of price hikes.Shipping is having a big effect on the cost of product being wholesaled in the UK and Ireland. Again, it’s only with volume, and a strong relationship with our shipper, that we were able to get a more preferential rate in the marketplace.Ifanything, the higher cost of doing business is creating a barrier to market entry which is making it too risky for the low-volume shippers to bring product in, both due to cost and the risk of getting it wrong and being left with an overpriced product that isn’t performing. Larger manufacturers face the same problems. However, this is creating an opportunity for them, as they can bear the brunt of misses better than smaller ones. Other USPs provide more value from a buyer’s perspective. We are seeing a market pull towards more sustainable products. It is very much in the early stages, but it is beginning to trend. Buyers are willing to spend more for a sustainable product. For example, circular products – a known end-oflife for the products is becoming a new fixation. However, in the UK, the difficulty is the UKFR chemicals which are required, and require incineration to burn off the treatment. IS FORCED TO LOOK AT OTHER WAYS TO OFFER CONSUMERTHEVALUE

Gavin Boden (Rhenus Home Delivery UK): People will pay what they think the piece of furniture is worth, nothing more. I’ve seen consumers buy a chair for £1000, which is only worth £400 because the wrong label was on it. Value is in the eye of the beholder.

So, to that end, I do believe that customers can be helped to understand the benefits of certain technologies and the positive long-term impact on them, and whilst I’m not saying they will then easily pay more in this day and age, they will at least understand better what they are buying and why the cost of it is what it is. They understand the value better. I believe it’s important businesses focus on their cost bases and ensure that they are being as effective and efficient as they can be to ensure that prices can be as competitive as possible for the Also,customer.brands/retailers should be scouring the market for finance solutions that allow their customers to (responsibly) spread the cost of purchase of their products. A monthly cost is much more palatable than a big upfront cost.

On-trend/innovative products would allow for an increase in the price of furniture over your competitors. Buyers will pay more for something different and new, as it is hard for them to benchmark the pricing or find a cheaper alternative.

Tom Bayliss (Kettle Interiors): In trying times like these, the industry will be forced to look at other ways to offer the consumer ‘value’ – whether that be sourcing different products, in different ways, and potentially from different markets, or changing the service offering to create new USPs.

John Conroy (working with The Furniture Makers’ Company): People can be persuaded to pay more for furniture and get better margins by giving a better offer. So, a recliner sofa becomes a power recliner. Add Bluetooth speakers, add power headrests, add wireless phone chargers, add storage solutions … give a customer more reason to want to spend their money.

Steve Reid (Simba Sleep): I think, as much as possible, we need to avoid moving the price a customer pays for our products. I am firmly of the opinion we sell healthcare products – such is the importance of a good night’s sleep –and I believe people should be investing more in this than other areas (even other items of furniture).

Adam Ashborn (Reborn Marketing and Design): The biggest cause for the cost of living ‘crisis’ is the reliance on imported goods globally. Before the pandemic struck, businesses noticed the prices increasing due to the trade war between the US and China, but now, following a global lockdown, the world’s nations are trying to financially recover. Furthermore, with the current situation in Ukraine, it may be time to look inward to find new ways to source and make products. Sourcing from local producers in the past seemed to come with a higher price tag, but with the cost of fuel, logistics, manufacturing and labour continuing to grow, and the value of the currency depreciating, it is becoming more apparent that being self sufficient could be more cost effective


Shaun Peel (MattressTek): The price of everything is going up, which has a domino effect on the costs attributed to materials and supplies for the making and manufacturing of products. We have always been hot on automating processes and streamlining production lines, reducing downtime and bottlenecks.

Irrespective of pricing, we need to display great value at every price point for consumers. Having key ‘from’ price points in the selection as an initial hook, supported with a range giving the ability to upsell through your price architecture – then working with suppliers to offer promotions to help close the order, and the customer feels they have got a great deal. Again, this comes back to customer experience, from how the store looks to sales expertise, service and product offer, ticking all the boxes and giving customers confidence to buy.

It’s early days with regards to the increased cost of furniture, and I think we need to let the consumer feed this back over time before we really understand what the medium- to long-term sustainable cost of furniture looks like. Naturally, the industry is very sceptical about what Mr or Mrs Jones is willing to pay. However, often I think the consumer is willing to pay more than we perceive, given how infrequent furniture purchases are in general.

THE SERVICE PROVIDER VIEW Rebecca Maloy (AIS): I think we are indeed going to see some tough trading over the next few months, and the consumer will be watching the pennies more than ever. Retailers will potentially need to cut their cloth differently – it’s not as simple as persuading people to pay more. We all know prices have moved due to various factors including raw materials over the last year or so, and as a result we have seen prices move up across the board. It’s across the industry and affects all of those involved, so there is still a somewhat ‘level playing field’, just with a higher cost base. In the main, a customer looking for their new bed won’t have shopped for a bed for a good number of years, so they won’t be as aware of how things have changed as those of us living it every day. With the current situation with inflation, I’m sure there will be an expectation that they will pay more than the last time they shopped, as is the case down to our weekly food shop.

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Rising food, fuel and energy price inflation – largely the result of Covidrelated supply chain issues and the war in Ukraine – has caused inflation to soar to over 9%, and fears are mounting that it could rise to over 11% by the autumn as utility prices surge.

Ruth Gregory, senior UK economist, Capital Economics, highlights the cost pressures bearing down on firms in Q3 – energy, manufacturing, transport, and wages – at a time when consumers are being squeezed: “This poses a big challenge for retailers to keep their costs in check, defend their competitive position and ensure prices for consumers remain competitive.

There’s no doubt that retailers will have to fight for every penny over the coming months, not just competing with other retailers but other sectors too. There may be a softening demand in retail due to ‘revenge consumption’ following lockdown, where people are making up for lost time by spending more in the travel, entertainment and F&B sectors, but a race to the bottom on pricing will only damage margins further, and isn’t sustainable over the long-term.

The race to the bottom has resulted in a long period of historically low prices –and we have to ask whether 99p ready meals and T-shirts are sustainable?”

The RTT agreed that retailers should focus their efforts on better understanding their customers –especially as their circumstances change – and vary their pricing and promotions accordingly.

RTT members agree that applying a sticking plaster to existing retail models and strategies, hoping it’s enough to weather the storm, won’t work. The world has changed a lot since the ‘200709 Great Recession’, when online retail, and the fierce competition that came with it, had yet to explode.

What does the cost of living crisis mean for retailers?

“With consumers becoming more price sensitive, this provides a greater need for retailers to review their operating costs and focus in on increasing productivity to deliver value for money. Against this challenging backdrop, understanding and adapting to the changing preferences of consumers will be key.”

Food retailers might be afforded some protection from the crisis, since people still need to eat, but the type of products people buy, and how much they spend, could change dramatically.

Her views are shared by James Sawley, head of retail and leisure, HSBC UK: “With the worst of the cost of living headwinds still in front of us, consumers will have to prioritise essentials, and discretionary product spending will come under increasing pressure.” He goes on to say that those who survive or thrive in this environment will prioritise maintaining a healthy bottom line over growth and “do whatever it takes to shield customers from major price increases”.

Paul Martin, UK head of retail, KPMG, says: “Retailers can’t just reduce the size of goods, amount, weight or number of items in a pack to maintain margin. This mechanic has worked in the past, but they are ‘running out of runway’. It also raises questions about whether goods are too cheap anyway?

RTT As lockdown memories start to fade, retailers are now in the midst of a new challenge, the cost of living crisis –and, like the pandemic, the public will remember how retailers responded.

The latest whitepaper from the KPMG/ Ipsos Retail Think Tank focuses on how the retail sector can build customer lifetime value and support customers during the current crisis – so they remain’ customers when the sector emerges from it. MAINTAINING CUSTOMERS THROUGH THE CRISIS RETAILERS HAVE TO GET TO KNOW THEIR BETTERCUSTOMERS 76 OPINION iStock/fotofrog)courtesy(photo

Whatever course of action retailers take, Nick Bubb, retailing consultant, Bubb Retail Consultancy, warns that they’ll need to maintain a healthy balance sheet above anything else: “It’s no good offering lifetime customer value if you go bust. Online pureplay retailers in particular will have to protect their cash position and ensure that any new initiative delivers value for both the customer and the business.”

It’s likely that lenders and investors will exercise caution, opting for retailers with sensible long-term plans rather than chasing quick wins. Shareholders may also be willing to take a hit in the short

Maureen Hinton, group retail research director, GlobalData, also points to Tesco’s Clubcard scheme for setting a benchmark for how retailers could get to know their customers better: “Tesco appeals to a huge amount of different customers, and they target them extremely well using the Clubcard. It creates compelling offers for its target customers because it understands their needs and behaviour. This is why it’s important to know your customer and invest in products that people actually want to Servicebuy.”levels will also become a key differentiator as household incomes are squeezed – and RTT members believe the sector is in a strong position.

To overcome this, they’ll need to invest further in data analytics and other new technologies.

Jonathan De Mello, founder and CEO, JDM Retail Consulting LLP, agrees that preferential and personalised pricing is now key to building customer relationships: “We’ve seen retailers step up with offers on midweek dinners and kids’ meals, which can engender loyalty. Mining data generated from loyalty schemes will also enable them to offer preferential pricing. It’s a smaller pie but they all want a bigger piece of it.”

However, RTT members believe that changes in ESG within retailers’ operations will largely be driven by consumers and the Government rather than capital markets. Retailers should therefore be proactive in order to stand out during the current crisis.

Jonathan De Mello adds that retailers will also need to consider how ESG will impact their estates: “Landlords have their own ESG targets, so they’re increasingly looking for environmentally friendly brands.”

Wider implications Of course, the cost of living crisis doesn’t only affect consumers and retailers, but the wider supply chain and associated industries (including property and banking), as well as shareholders.


The RTT highlighted the success of independent retailers and ecommerce companies in creating highly engaged customer communities. Premium watch sellers, for instance, have built long-lasting relationships with their customers by personally contacting them when a new model arrives, while online-only companies engage people with specialist products and targeted promotions.PeterLuff, MD, Ipsos Retail Performance, explains: “Specialist retailers are not chasing every customer – they’ve worked out who their customers are and have built a deep relationship. They pick up the phone and have conversations, so they know how they can best meet customers’ needs, and when they’re ready to buy. This is more challenging for larger retailers and grocers, which is why segmentation and personalisation are so important.”

James Sawley points out that many retailers are only at the start of their digital journey: “AI and big data are still in their infancy. We all get marketing emails, but they’re not bespoke, they are miles away from what we want – let alone being in a world where machine learning enables personal shopping in the cloud. Now is the time for retailers to invest in and become masters of them.”

Mike Watkins, head of retailer and business insight UK, NielsenIQ, comments: “Retailers have to find value for customers, and loyalty schemes now play an important role in driving frequency of visit. However, what we define as loyalty should change to reflect the fragmented retail landscape where people are more likely to shop around. The current loyalty schemes from Tesco, Sainsbury and Lidl, for example, have been more successful in driving long-term loyalty because they use digital communications to entice people into stores with relevant, targeted, and personalised offers.”

What does this mean for consumers? Covid-19 and the cost of living crisis might have brought unexpected challenges for retailers – but they also exposed weaknesses in the sector that have persisted for a long time.

members say that price, promotional activity and communications must be personalised for different customers or groups – but this only works if retailers know who their audience is in the first place. Many retailers have access to this type of data, but it requires investment (both human and financial) to organise and understand it, in addition to combining it with data from beyond their existing customer base to identify new opportunities.Inthenon-food sector, retailers will have to work hard to increase their share of wallet, and it can be more difficult to achieve personalisation due to purchase frequencies, but the same principles apply – they have to get to know their customers better.

Jonathan De Mello comments: “A number of retailers feature among the top 10 companies for customer satisfaction list, including John Lewis, Waitrose and Apple. Compared to the airline industry, retail isn’t too bad. To promote customer loyalty, you need to build staff loyalty too, through training and good pay. Sainsbury’s, for instance, has introduced more rewards and better pay for colleagues to help them feel valued.”Members agreed that retailers don’t have to abandon their ESG agenda because customers have less money in their pockets – in fact, it’s an opportunity to cut waste in the supply chain, so prices can be kept low, and margins protected. Retailers should also be clear on their purpose and communicate it regularly, because this is what customers buy into. Knowing which customers are value driven, and which are focused on ESG policies, enables retailers to optimise their messaging towardsUltimatelythem.though, the entire retail sector needs to be restructured to ensure businesses can continue to deliver on their ESG goals.

term if it means the businesses remain sustainable.Therewas agreement that some brands have expanded too quickly in recent years, and that now the focus needs to be on quality products, customers and profitability, not just ‘growth for growth’s sake’.

The RTT’s Retail Health Index (RHI) predicts that, by September, discretionary spending will fall as consumers are hit by a further rise in utility bills and higher interest rates. RTT members agree that driving demand through personalised, dataled communications, and delivering value in their products and services is a necessity, if they’re to protect their margins as cost spiral throughout the remainder of 2022. Measuring success, and moving from today to tomorrow The current climate could also lead to a shake-up of how success is measured. Historically, retailers’ reporting would centre around product and channel KPIs. The profitability of specific products, and the cost to serve and volume sold across physical and digital channels is how retailers would measure success – metrics concerning customers would very much be an afterthought or a footnote. However, if retailers are going to place customers at the heart of their operations and restructure their businesses accordingly, KPIs and metrics directly linked to their customers will need to move to the very top of their reporting matrix. The retail sector can learn a lot from the technology sector, where platformbased retailers such as Amazon have long understood the lifetime value of a customer, how much they cost to acquire and how loyal they are to the retailer and specific brands.

RTT members agree that retailers must focus on digitisation, innovation of products and personalisation as they navigate the cost of living crisis. Whether they work in the food or non-food sector, this is an opportunity to understand and meet customers’ needs in new and different ways.

Getting the products right is key, as is pricing. But simply paying lip service through empathetic marketing won’t cut it – instead, they’ll need to shield customers from price rises with tangible money-saving offers and change.

RTT members agree that while traditional reporting metrics will remain important, ultimately, if retailers want to build loyalty with their customers, understanding the lifetime value of a customer will allow them to better serve customers and create more robust and

Martin Newman, ‘The Consumer Champion’, concludes: “While this will impact short-term profitability, it will, if managed and communicated effectively, ensure that retailers come out of this period with a larger, more engaged customer base, and will benefit from the lifetime value and increased market share this will deliver”

Nick Bubb also says there’s a need for greater transparency from retailers: “There has always been too much smoke and mirrors about promotions, and consumers are cynical about low pricing claims by retailers. Isn’t it time retailers were more transparent about their gross margin trends?” Getting it right – impact on demand, margin and cost It’s clear from the RTT’s discussion that retailers need to strike the right balance between managing demand, margin and costs in a climate of economic uncertainty.

Paul Martin emphasises the opportunities this will bring the retail sector: “Understanding customers and being able to measure and segment individuals into groups will give retailers the opportunity to be more specific with their pricing and communications.

Investment in data and a new focus on measuring the customer will allow retailers to better understand their customers’ motivations to purchase.

In the midst of the cost of living crisis, wielding a broad brush to increase prices or implement promotional activity will result in retailers either creating unnecessary bad blood with customers, or giving away more margin than they need to. Not every customer group will be motivated by price, and identifying these people allows for other drivers such as the latest product, upgrades, convenience, or value-added promotions to be utilised instead.

Conclusion The current crisis underlines why bigger structural changes are needed to fix long-standing challenges in the retail sector. It’s not only an opportunity to stand apart from the competition, but a necessity.

Retailers could look to the niche and online-only businesses by getting to know their customers on a deep level, using data-led technologies to segment their audience and personalise communications and offers.

Promotional activity and the amount of marketing time and budget spent can be increased or decreased depending on how desirable a customer is to a retailer – if someone only buys on offer or is prone to returning items a lot, it may be that they are not the type of customer that a retailer wants to invest in.” 78 OPINION

profitable business models – especially during the cost of living crisis.




Our background is ecommerce. We are fortunate to work with many of the most successful independent furniture and bed retailers in the UK – Fishpools, Archers, Cookes, And So To Bed, to name a few.

In conjunction with some of our clients we have developed and launched a new unified commerce software platform called OMNIS. OMNIS provides ecommerce, EPoS, CRM, and a comprehensive suite of retail management functionality –covering product catalogue creation and management, purchase ordering, returns, warehouse management, delivery scheduling/lorry loading and a raft of forensic retail reporting.

The benefits of unified commerce are numerous, and the team at Iconography would welcome the chance to discuss them with you

6. I have come in this morning and all the main categories and sub-categories have been disabled, please can someone re-enable them asap? And explain why this has happened?

1. Can you check from your end if we have the same issue as earlier in this ticket? It’s just we uploaded a lot of items yesterday that haven’t reached the web. I’ve noticed x software automatically patched last night and am wondering if the patch has affected the file sent to the web?

4.delivered”.Ienabled new ranges yesterday afternoon, I notice the feed has updated twice since I enabled these ranges and yet they still haven’t come through to the website. I will upload screenshots of the ranges from x software, so you know what names to look out for.


5. We have a couple of items that for some reason are showing the out of stock lead times on the product page (and also on overlays), but they have free stock in both x software and CMS.

For many of our clients, an integration between their increasingly important ecommerce website and their legacy back office retail system and EPoS can be an ongoing struggle – one which (when problems occur) saps resources, drains morale, wastes time, frustrates customers, and costs money.

2. The lead times on merged products is not pulling through and is only taking the lead time for one of the products in the merge. I have used the x chair as an example. I would need the different colours for the chairs to pull through as they all have different lead times.

7. Orders have stopped coming down to x software from our website. You will need to contact x company and ask as to why they are not downloading. I’ve attached the XML for each order to this ticket if that’s useful.

Yes, technology can be your friend – but without the right model in place, it can also be a retailer’s worst enemy. That’s why a truly unified IT system will pay dividends at every turn, writes Iconography’s director, Wayne Robbins …

The essential thing is that OMNIS is a single coherent software platform which does not require integrations between online and offline retail systems to join the dots. Your whole retail business, all the data you need to make decisions and do the day-to-day stuff sits all together now – in one piece of software. Removing integrations creates so many benefits and efficiencies for retailers. Unified commerce delivers agile and progressive retailing for the 2020s, and consigns to the dustbin of history the day-to-day integrationrelated issues and limitations that we know many furniture retailers experience. Here are just a handful of issues from our client support portal –these issues do not occur in OMNIS:



3. Just realised we have a separate function in place to send in-store payment directly to x software, however it is x software that is rejecting the order, with the following message being returned: “Sales order number - 432942

It’s time to upgrade to a new, unified commerce & digital operations platform Has your old retail system seen better days? by Visit

For furniture brands specifically, it can be a little trickier (but certainly not impossible) to land coverage than your gift industry counterparts, as sofas aren’t a particularly common gift! The trick is knowing how to position your product within a hook. Some key topics that we see covered in press for furniture brands every year are ‘Refreshing your space ahead of Christmas’ and ‘Prepping your home for guests’. This could include, ‘Five fresh ideas for your guest bedroom’, ‘Top tips for tablescaping, ‘How to bring a hotel feel to your guest room’, ‘How to ensure you have enough seating for Christmas’, ‘Lighting tips for festive ambience’, and ‘Styling your living room/ hallway/ bathroom in three easy steps’, to name just a few. Not only are these angles a great way to get your products featured, but they can also help build brand authority if you can put an expert within your team forward for an interview or comments.

As I write this column, I’m prepping for the summer holidays with my family, and it feels like the sun is finally ready to make its debut – so you may be surprised to hear that, professionally, all I’m thinking and talking about is Christmas! But it’s certainly not just the gift or interior accessory brands that can capitalise on Christmas press coverage – furniture companies can use Christmas as a way to generate features too.At Press Loft, we’ve been monitoring the Christmas activity of our community of brands, journalists and vetted influencers closely over the past three years, and are seeing titles start on Christmas earlier and in greater numbers every year. We’ve also identified key themes and tips for furniture retailers to ramp up coverage and make the most of the festive marketing opportunities for Christmas 2022 … Trends The key to having your products featured in the lead-up to Christmas is predicting what an audience will be wanting to read about or see, and therefore what the journalist is likely to be writing about. Trends are an effective way to do this (we publish regular trend reports online if you’re not sure where to start).


Sustainability and the cost of living crisis are two social elements expected to be dominating conversations this Christmas. If you have products that aid warmth, reduce electricity usage or help people keep costs down, people will want to know about them. If you offer a rental option for the Christmas period or have products that are multipurpose/ transformational (such as a coffee table that extends for use as a full-height table, or innovative takes on a sofabed), Christmas may seem some time away, but for furniture marketers keen to make a splash in the glossies and online, it’s never too early to start snapping those festive promo shots, writes Press Loft’s founder, Nicola Snell …

then shout it from the rooftops. With all of this in mind, we’re expecting that Christmas-based articles could start being published even earlier than usual, to help people think about the season sooner and, most importantly, spread the cost – so now is the time to be thinking about how you want to position your products for the press.


Like all PR activity, timing is everything – and it’s particularly important to understand when journalists and influencers are likely to be working on relevant pieces in order to generate the most coverage. They can be put into two


•categories:Longlead – think your glossy magazines. They will start working on Christmas as early as June, and have well and truly put their articles to bed by September. The earlier you can start communicating with these journalists, the better – especially as these longer leads tend to be the ones most furniture retailers and designers want to be in • Short lead – this covers everything from newspapers to broadcasts, and bloggers to online versions of monthly magazines. They will be working on Christmas closer to the actual festive season. However, it’s still important to engage with them no later than the beginning of October if you can If you’re itching to get started on Christmas PR but are wanting some more guidance, visit our website for a host of free templates, guidelines and advice!

The right shot Christmas is the busiest time of year for journalists, with some telling me they receive up to 300 emails and press releases a day. For your best chance to stand out amongst the crowd, you should ensure your image library is styled to perfection. When it comes to furniture specifically, props are everything, as your products themselves aren’t necessarily festive. You can consider using fairy lights, baubles, decorative stars, wreaths, festive tablescapes, candles and Christmas trees in the corner of a room. These props all work well to bring a festive feel which can mean your shots make it into the Christmas editions of publications. Don’t forget that styling accessories are secondary and your product has to remain the hero. A simple but effective tip we use is the ‘squint test’. A quick trick is to simply squint your eyes at the screen or page and make sure that the product is still the dominant asset within theIt’sshot.important to know that for many magazine and newspaper titles, budgets are tighter than ever, resulting in less doing their own editorial shoots, which would have been the norm before. This means that, with the right image, the chances of having your brand image considered as the feature picture in an editorial have never been higher. In my last column, I spoke all about the importance of imagery, and this rings particularly true at Christmas. The same standard rules apply – minimum 300dpi and top-notch lighting. Also, remember that whilst they look great on social and on your own website, for press, you’ll want versions of images without any models. When it comes to Christmas, we would encourage a professional photoshoot over a self-shot one. Professional shoots are, of course, costly, yet usually worth it at this time of year. To make the investment more meaningful, really think about your upcoming campaigns, activities and seasons, and rotate and remove props accordingly to get shots for them all. Timeline



Although he’s been gone over 50 years and his most famous work was published over 80 years ago, it would have been cool to see how Dr Abraham H Maslow would have performed on the retail sales floor.

Yes, Sweet sang a song that taught us ‘Love is like Oxygen.’ I would counter that not one of those British glam rockers ever got an advanced degree or published a single work in the liberal arts field. In this case, I’m going with Abe.Sales presentations are like Maslow’s hierarchy. Retail sales associates (RSAs) should know that certain factors are important to all shoppers.

Start with the main reason people buy a mattress – sleep. Lack of physiologic requirements will cause death, in this order: air, water, sleep, and food. Most people can live longer lacking food than without sleep. Consider all the features, benefits and attributes of the product and the promotion. Sure, component parts are important. But special financing, sales discounts, add-on offers and availability are important too. Depending on the shopper, those features can have greater or lesser ranking in the hierarchy. Presenting a free accessory bundle should outweigh talking about seven stitches per inch on a tape edge. Free delivery, set-up and removal may be more important than 1.8 PCF density on a foam core. Actual specifications of materials in a mattress and what they do for the customer is more critical in delivering an environment that causes better sleep. Promotions are often the tipping point that change a shopper into a buyer (this means close the sale).


staff delivering the sales pitch in the right order?


You see, back in 1954, Maslow proposed that each person has a hierarchy of needs that must be satisfied. These ranged from basic physiological requirements to love, esteem and personal fulfillment. He arranged the needs into a pyramid called Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. The basics took up the bottom layer because we need a lot of those every day. Love, esteem, and fulfillment is at the top, because we can survive without them.


The odd thing is that many RSAs utilise their strongest tools early in the presentation, or worse, at the greeting. Often shoppers will enter a store and get greeted with something similar to, “Thank you for coming in today! It’s a great time to shop – we have 10% off, free delivery, and 60-month financing.”


Are your

In one short sentence, the RSA has wasted their three strongest calls to action. Metaphorically, now all that’s left to close the sale is stitches to the inch and foam core density. Lighter-weight features and benefits should start the presentation, making the heavyweights available when it’s time to close, like so: this product is hand-stitched and uses seven stitches per inch to ensure durability; at the base of the mattress is a 1.8 density foam, used throughout the industry because of the combination of comfort, durability and support; near the top are alternating coils, with the firmer coils in the middle providing support where you need it most; just below the cover is a combination of specialty foams that provide instant comfort to help put you to sleep, and temperature regulation; and at the top is a special cover with Phase Change Material that aids in temperature regulation and has enough stretch to help isolate motion; it seems like you’re ready to get this mattress! It’s the right time, because we are offering special savings; and to get you started, we provide this sleep accessory bundle with pillows, protectors, and sheets; we can also help keep this affordable – you can get monthly payments with no interest, up to 60 months; for a limited time, we’ll provide white-glove full-service delivery, which includes unpackaging, assembly, trash removal, and we’ll even move your old bed to another room; and, best of all, we have a small number of these mattresses in stock! It’s not just what we say to a customer, it’s the order in which we tell the story. Start small and work your way down the pyramid, and you may see a ballroom blitz of sales – instead of seeing your shoppers leave the store like a fox on the run shopfloor This US bed industry consultant Gordon Hecht suggests how Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs might offer some clues on how to elicit the best customer …


There is not one universal retail finance solution for retailers, with the landscape varied and sometimes difficult to navigate. Furniture retailers should understand the myriad of options available to them in the market – and the best ones for their customers. Every retailer has different needs depending on the price point of the goods and services they provide, with traditional retail finance offerings – or existing BNPL solutions – not always the right solution.

Multi-product, multi-lender platforms are avilable which cater to baskets of various sizes, providing retailers with bespoke repayment options. This way, businesses offering services like home improvement or furniture can select the option which best matches their product range and business model. This is especially beneficial when customers think twice about making one-off payments in tougher financial periods. Some payment solutions can confidently back baskets up to £25,000 and for up to 60 months. By using a provider backed by multiple lenders, retailers can be assured that customers have the best chance of qualifying for credit and being matched with the right lender to finance their purchases. This in turn helps customers buy more of the things they want, allowing businesses an opportunity to maximise their checkouts. A multi-lender approach can increase basket acceptance rate by an average of +26%, and in some cases as much as +45%.

This rise in cost of living has had a profound impact on both high street and online retailers, who are seeing customers abandon baskets in record numbers as they aren’t provided with the appropriate means to pay for their desired goods – including furniture.

A recent UK study found that the rate of basket abandonment among mobile, tablet and computer services shoppers in Q1 of 2022 was averaging at 77%. Equating to more than three in four customers failing to convert on their desired purchases, millions of pounds worth of sales are lost every year. By providing a range of payment solutions at checkout, businesses can help reduce basket abandonment. By integrating with a payments solution provider that has deep experience in the industry, furniture businesses can also help their customers navigate through these difficult times and enable them to buy the furniture they need. By automatically matching customers with the right lender during the purchase journey, the approval rate of applications for finance is increased – offering relief to both businesses and customers.

When money is tight, traditional payment methods such as debit and credit cards sometimes aren’t the right options for customers, who are often balancing spend limits with the cost of living increase, or fear interest rising on credit card bills. Many shoppers are instead looking for retailers that are able to provide them with alternative payment methods that allow them to cover larger basket size purchases while splitting the payments over a period of time suitable to them. This need is shown by the growing BNPL market size, with over 17 million people in the UK using a form of the service last year. Customers with more freedom to spread their costs are able to manage their finances in sums that best work for them.

To better support their customers, retailers must act now to enhance their platforms and provide financial flexibility or options. By providing different payment options at checkout, retailers will be able to secure sales and customers will be able to confidently make purchases within their budgets.


With customers facing record inflation and wages failing to keep up the pace, many are craving more flexibility to pay for goods and services within their monthly budget, while merchants are having to deal with the consequences of the macro-economic environment –so it’s crucial to find payment solutions to match, writes Deko’s Irina Bordea … IRINA


At a time when household budgets are squeezed, offering such payment solutions can make a real difference in people’s lives, allowing customers to buy the necessities they need for their home while enabling retailers to continue to thrive

This year has seen furniture prices soar by +16.8% compared to 2021. The industry is at risk of losing out on sales if support, such as flexible payment solutions like buy now, pay later (BNPL) are not put in place to help retailers and customers during this difficult time.

Swift strategic shifts If brands accept that sales are likely to flatten for some time, pivoting will be essential to ensure their brands remain salient in the longer term. This increased period of focus for homewares caused by lengthy lockdowns does mean that many should have refreshed their customer pools, with recent positive experiences and purchases which can be leveraged.

The cost of living pressures impacting the UK are starting to bite hard, and homewares and furniture sales are among the first casualties.

Comments from EY that the sector is effectively already in recession may be extremely concerning, but furniture brands needn’t necessarily go to panic stations. When it comes to managing and maximising connections with those all-important customers, switching up strategies to keep people engaged and survive a tough trading period will be the most prudent approach, ahead of battening down the hatches.

Essentially, businesses should consider switching from customer acquisition to retention tactics. Be poised to capture need-based sales However, there will be some people still looking to switch furniture up, and brands need to make sure they are best placed to pick up these buying signals when they do appear. This means maintaining a continued focus on SEO, and looking to cost-effectively maintain rankings against potentially lower-cost competitors. Keeping an active presence Storm clouds are gathering over homewares retail, and the recent set of ONS sales data has done nothing to dispel them – yet there are plenty of ways to stay afloat without taking desperate measures, writes Matt Brown, MD of digital experience agency SYZYGY …

It is worth looking at why people chose to invest in their home environments while locked down. They were homebound in many cases, day in and day out, and looking to add value to their homes in the face of employment instability and lengthy furloughs. Brand marketing should look to build on these engagements – they are physically already in people’s homes and supporting them in this time of economic concern. Be your customers’ best friend, not their salesperson In the face of difficult trading periods, plans should shift to more contentled approaches to conjure this sense of domestic comfort, providing advice and tips on how people can make the most of what is already around them.

It’s worth remembering that while other forms of retail struggled, lockdown actually saw home-based consumers invest more in their domestic environments, and so a dip in investment in big-ticket furniture sales was, to a certain extent, to be expected.

For example, upcycling tips or costeffective ways to refresh interiors without breaking the bank can go a long way in keeping brands not only front of mind, but also with helpful messaging which is relevant to the current climate.

The danger facing brands looking to shore up their current strategies is that aggressive sales tactics will land as tone-deaf with customers who are already feeling the pinch.


Digital does not demand full disruption All of this does suggest a level of experience when it comes to digital strategies – not always the case in a sector as reliant on the physical product experience as furniture. Even in these digital-first times, many still want to try out a sofa or mattress before taking the plunge. If a brand still finds themselves in a bricks-first bind, they can always look to generate clicks without having to completely overhaul a full operational strategy and infrastructure.

87 JANUARY FURNITURE SHOW INDX FURNITURE | BEDROOM LIVING | DINING | TRADE SERVICES A man’s world? Evaluating gender equality in the furniture industry Behind the rise and rise of Qualita Forecasting the product trends of 2022 #388 January 2022 VOYAGE DISCOVERYOF Join At The Helm’s bold adventure The International Alliance of Furnishing Publications (IAFP) comprises 17 of the world’s leading industry trade publications. As the IAFP’s UK representative, Furniture News can offer exporters and importers market information, contacts and reach through the most effective B2B channels. MATTRESSES SERVICES Channel hopping takes market on the crisis The trading out lockdown PICTURE PERFECT Orbital’s award-winning CGI DIRECTIONSBEDROOMSERVICES The The going Why need HOT PROPERTY Sizzling from Designs JOIN TODAY and gain FULL access to our reports, guides and suite of new business support templates The centre of knowledge for the furniture industry Membership Advert quarter page Aug 2022.indd 1 17/08/2022 10:50:10

on search means that brands sustain high awareness where it matters most, while prospective customers are in their research phase. It also provides an area to stand out and communicate value and quality against perhaps more affordable options.

For example, Bensons for Beds found themselves in this situation at the start of the first lockdown in 2020, and were able to look at making some quick digital gains, even if their main sales focus was still physical stores. By working with them, we were able to restructure marketing plans around customer journeys that did not involve store visitation, as well as helping the retailer to fully capitalise on major sales-trigger events like Black Friday discounts.Activityalso included ensuring continued line of sight with customers looking for new furniture inspiration, whether they could visit a physical store or not. Bensons was able to quickly optimise its shopping feeds on search, bringing product offers in line with inventory availability, building online demand for immediately available items – and all without completely overhauling their commitment to a physical retail estate.Digital doesn’t have to be totally disruptive to longstanding methods. If done right, test-and-trial campaigns, as with Bensons, can augment existing physical strategies and open new lines of Ultimately,dialogue. it is the brands and businesses which are able to shift focus and plant the seeds of brand value now, who will see these strategies pay off in the longer term when it comes to purchase consideration and capturing those making replacement purchases in the coming weeks and months.

Simple, smart digital strategic tweaks will also allow brands to continue to compete with lower-cost brand options and shine through, emphasising quality and the fact that often, their homeware products will be with those customers for a long time. This should, in turn, ensure that the businesses behind these products also remain close to customers’ hearts when they are ready to spend once more


MINERVA GROUP CHIEF EXECUTIVE A UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY: Due to retirement, the Minerva Furniture Group has a vacancy for a Group Chief Executive THE SUCCESSFUL CANDIDATE WILL BE RESPONSIBLE FOR • Maintaining and nurturing existing accounts • Sourcing and meeting new suppliers / manufacturers • Visiting furniture shows and trade fairs at home and abroad • Introducing product ranges that suit our membership and their customer base • Negotiating prices, arranging promotions and exclusives • Expanding the membership of the group • Organizing the group’s yearly exhibitions • Working in close collaboration with the Board of Directors The ideal candidate must be self-motivated, self-disciplined, articulate, have excellent negotiation and communication skills. Generous remuneration package including company car, pension and health benefits. To apply, e-mail a CV and covering letter to Martin Lukehurst, Chairman, Minerva Furniture Group, 3 Pickwick Park, Park Lane, Corsham, Wiltshire, SN13 0HN MInerva.indd 1 25/08/2022 12:27

There is currently a fantastic opportunity for an experienced upholsterer to join and grow to become part of development team! development department is at the forefront of the business, working with innovative new designs to produce stunning furniture to show wide range of is an incredible chance to join a well established company who is constantly launching new and exciting models. Applicants must have previous experience in a similar role and be able to work to strict deadlines.





customers. This

WE’RE HIRING!WE’RE HIRING! To apply please send your CV to: 154 Wharfdale Road B11Birmingham2DG 0121 764 SALES AGENTS REQUIRED We require enthusiastic, experienced and well-connected sales agents with good customer relationship skills to grow our business in the following areas: West and East Midlands North West North East and Yorkshire Shakespeare Beds Telephone - 0121 764 4024 Mobile – 07939509509 Email - 154 Wharfdale Road, Tyseley, Birmingham, B11 2DG Established since 1986 Come and see us at the National Bed Federation show Stand F10 Kozee.1.indd 1 22/08/2022 22:48 AmARe LIVING RECRUITMENT OPPORTUNITY FOR AGENT/AGENTS Amare Living is a prime example of luxury and elegance in bespoke beds. A well established, family run business in Yorkshire, we are renown for our exemplary products, customer service and values. We specialise in the manufacturing of divans, ottomans, bedsteads, mattresses and much more.. We are seeking established agents to help drive the company forward and expand the trade function of the business. UK wide coverage; the areas can be divided into equally split regions on a commission basis. We look forward to welcoming you into the family! In the first instance, please call Adam Zaman: T 07545 637 639 Amare.indd 1 18/08/2022 15:20 88 JOBS

DevelopmentTrainee Upholsterer

Do you suffer from IP infringement? Are jobs at risk through design theft? If there is an industry desire to influence change and reform? This is a call out to those businesses facing the continuing culture of cheap lookalikes, to speak out.

Please provide ACID with case study evidence (it can be on a no-names basis), to demonstrate your economic loss through infringement. Include details of the cost and time involved in pursuing copyists generally, and any challenges in enforcement. Send to the author!Take one of our members, Triclimb, whose registered design child’s frame was ‘replicated’ by Aldi. She has spent months fighting a losing battle which cost thousands. Why? Because Aldi have deep legal pockets, and now she is faced with £500,000 of stock she cannot sell, and job losses. This can’t be right! As Nick Kounoupias, ACID’s IP counsel, says: “Simplifying the current design and IP legal framework is not just about tinkering with overly technical details of the law – many aspects must be taken into consideration, not least societal and moral attitudes, as well as an IP system that works within cost- and time-effective parameters. Implementing the sage recommendations given to Government by Andrew Gowers who led an IP review in 2006 would be a good starting point.”

Young Furniture Make exhibition.

Creating an IP design and IP framework fit for purpose is not rocket science! What could be simpler? Enforceable IP rights, higher penalties, and easier access to costand time-effective redress. Four fifths (79%) of responses were legally led, with only 21% from designers, design consultancies and design-led manufacturers. This will not provide a balanced view.


Design theft continues to harm the furniture and furnishings industry – and will continue to do so, unless suitable reforms are put in place – says Dids Macdonald, OBE, the CEO of Anti Copying In Design (ACID), who explains how businesses can make a difference for the good of all …

Andrew wrote: “IP rights, like any other rights, are only as good as their enforcement. Enforcement of IP rights should be swift, affordable, and judicious. Here are four essential criteria: awareness of rights – the public must be aware of the rights that exist and find them reasonable and acceptable; penalties for infringement – there must be adequate sanctions to prevent would-be infringers from violating IP rights, and penalties can take the form of legal sanctions, both criminal and civil, or non-legal sanctions, such as codes of practice adopted by bodies to impose penalties on“pursuitinfringers;ofinfringers – it is crucial that those who ignore the law, and the penalties that support it, are pursued by the relevant authorities; and mechanisms to resolve conflict – once the relevant authority apprehends an infringer, the rights holder must have the means to enforce legal sanctions through the courts, or by some means outside of the courts.”


Unintended consequences from misinformed government policy can last for decades. Take the recent Calls for Views on Design and Intellectual Property, for example. Ahead of a consultation in 2023, do furnituremakers really want legal academics, lawyers, legal trade bodies and lawyers of big multinational businesses deciding IP policy?

Our newly launched ACID IP Charter is an effortless way you can show your support for anti-copying. Becoming a signatory you declare your support for IP respect, compliance, and ethics. A fighting fund will also be set up to help the Davids fight the Goliaths of this world.Actnow – a united voice is a stronger voice against design infringement, a sanitised word for theft



Jade Farthing, Haskins Furniture

Shane Harding, Highgrove Beds

Pushy salespeople that haven’t understood the customer’s needs

Wendy Martin Green, Peter Green Furnishers

Deirdre Mc Gettrick,

We believe it’s a bad idea to push a customer into a sale. If they are undecided, we are quite happy to let them go home and think on it, and in almost every instance we are rewarded because they come back and make a purchase that they are really happy with Martin Seeley, MattressNextDay

Neil Barker, Barkers Furniture Bombardment

People tend to buy from people they like – I’ve never been a fan of personalityfree salespeople that have a textbook approach to life. Thankfully, we still have a few characters left in thetrade!bed

The first thing you are taught in sales is not to say a negative as an opener

Keiran Hewkin, Swyft One that ask questions like, “I guess you’re too busy to acquire new customers for free, so I’ll leave you alone” Mark Gannon, Sofa Source Forceful and know-it-all John Northwood, sales agent “Can I help you?”

The discounters that just sell on price and think they are clever (they know who they are) – they just ruin relationships within the industry

Rob King, Julian Bowen

The type of approach I dislike the most is the one that feels ‘script read’ – not personally tailored or adapted to the moment or customerquestionin

The best sales associate will ask a lot of questions to really understand the customer’s needs and preferences. They will be knowledgeable, interested in the product and above all honest. The worst will simply tell without listening


When there’s no research into what my business actually does, meaning the product wouldn’t suit our business. I do not sell furniture, there is no cart on our platform, so don’t try to sell me checkout technology.

Huw Williams, Toons Furnishers

Trying to be funny on coldcalling LinkedIn messages also really annoys me

George Sinclair, Nimbus Beds I hate hard, pushy sales. Although it is needed in some places, I prefer a relaxed sales environment

BED SHOW | LIVING BEDROOM | TRADE SERVICES THE PRICE IS RIGHT? Negotiating the cost of living crisis Back in Action’s perfect posture Devonshire’s new directions #396 September 2022 YOURAWAKENBEST Sleep smart with Emma WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU! * Follow and message Furniture News on LinkedIn * Join the conversation on Twitter @FurnitureNewsED * Message the editor at * For advertising and subscription enquiries, see p3 90 OPINION

David Kohn, The Multichannel Expert

Our industry’s desire for feature-led selling. Bigger is not always better Shaun Peel, MattressTek Pushy, ill-informed Steve Reid, Simba Sleep Cold calls. The volume of cold email approaches is vast nowadays, but at least they’re easy to screen and block Tom Bayliss, Kettle Interiors

The hard approach and pushy selling really switch me off. I hate it, and I believe most customers do too


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