BFM reviews the latest furniture industry performance figures, in terms of trade, prices, costs and sales.

The first quarter of the year shows that UK furniture production was just below the same level as it was last year, standing at -0.8%. The costs of materials and fuel had eased in each month of 2019 to stand in April at 2.5% more than a year ago. This compares with 2019 as a whole when costs averaged over the 12-month period 4.8% more than in 2018. In fact, the cost of imported products used in the manufacture of furniture was down by 2.2% in April compared to a year ago.

Factory gate prices for all UK furniture rose by 1.7% in the year. However, sector performance varied considerably, with metal framed seats showing prices up by 9.4% on April 2018, compared to upholstered wooded seats which showed that prices had fallen by 1%.

The price of retail furniture fell in April for the first time this year (-0.2%), according to the CPI measure of inflation. Retail volumes rose slightly (+0.5%) as did the amount spent on furniture (+0.3%), but these figures were well down on the 3.9% and 4.5% levels recorded respectively in March.

Source: Office of National Statistics