Demand for furniture has soared as shops and the wider economy re-open, according to the latest trade survey by British Furniture Manufacturers (BFM).

The Furniture Trade Survey April 2021 found a 40% rise in manufacturers reporting new orders, while 84% of respondents are more confident about the general business situation than they were in October last year.

A further 63% said trade was better than the equivalent period one year ago. However, increasing costs for raw materials such as board, plywood and foam have led to a rise in product prices, reflecting the general retail trend.

BFM MD Nick Garratt said: “Despite the traditional modes of selling and contract work being absent in recent months, furniture manufacturers are showing a high degree of confidence, with 42% expecting to recruit new staff in the next six months.

“But the increasing cost of raw materials has continued to be an issue and, as we have seen across the whole sector, prices have gone up as a result.

“However, 69% reported output over the last six months beat expectations and this measure of performance is expected to improve still further over the summer.

The Furniture Trade Survey is conducted every six months, with analysis helping identify trends and forecast challenges in the industry.

The report on the survey gives a comprehensive overview of employment and output trends, labour costs and overheads as well as tracking the prices of raw materials.

The full report is available to BFM members from the association’s website.

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