Published annually, FIRA's Statistics Digest is compiled using the latest available data sourced from a range of websites.

Dr Peter Beele, technical services manager for FIRA International and author of the publication, said: "Increased retail sales of furniture and furnishings in 2013 were reflected in UK manufacturer turnover which rose to in excess of £7 billion, which is the first time this level has been reached since 2010. Whilst exports also increased to £842m, this improvement was negligible compared to the value attributed to imports (£4.4b), the consequence being a widening of the negative trade gap with the rest of the world. Available free of charge to our members, I would recommend the Statistics Digests as an essential read for anyone operating in the furniture sector."

The digest further segments the furniture and furnishings sector and notable improved manufacturing performances are evident in relation to beds and mattresses, kitchens and office and shop furniture.

Provisional figures for 2014 won't be released by government until the latter half of 2015. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that this year has also a good one for UK furniture manufacturers. Recently published trade data also hints at a continued improvement in export performance, but ever increasing imports sit menacingly on the horizon.

In summary, the statistics suggest that there is room for optimism within the UK, although the chancellor's autumn statement warns of continued global instability which will clearly impact on UK manufacturing, particularly in relation to exports.

Established 65 years ago, the Furniture Industry Research Association was set by the industry for the industry. It provides invaluable technical support to the entire furniture supply chain and funds projects for the benefit of the industry.