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Our furniture industry is thriving

2 min read

Chair of the APPG for the Furniture Industry Maggie Throup MP says the furniture industry is thriving, creating jobs for our local communities and bringing interest and buyers from abroad. 

As Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Furniture Industry Group, I am immensely proud to represent a constituency which is recognised as the beating heart of the UK upholstery industry. Long Eaton upholsterers have a worldwide reputation resulting in wholesalers and retailers from far and wide travelling to the town to view and purchase some of the finest sofas and easy chairs the UK has to offer.

Long Eaton’s reputation for producing household furniture of the highest quality is unprecedented and the town has deservedly earned the title of the ‘UK Centre of Excellence for Upholstery Manufacturing’, with craftsmen such as F & M Steed Ltd., Artistic Upholstery Ltd., David Gundry Upholstery Ltd. and Whitehead Design all manufacturing furniture for more than 30 years.

But to name just a fraction of furniture manufacturers in Long Eaton would be doing our community a disservice, as all traders and manufacturers equally contribute to the growth of our local economy and produce fine handcrafted furniture.

Furthermore, much of the upholstery manufactured in Long Eaton can be found in the best retailers, house furnishers, design studios and hotels in the UK, and is exported all over the world.

The fantastic furniture made in Erewash is just part of a large number of businesses which make a significant contribution to the British economy. Locally, there are over 50 companies involved in furniture manufacturing and its supply chain in Long Eaton. It employs 2,700 people and the turnover of these Long Eaton companies is more than £250 million each year.

On a national basis, consumer expenditure on furniture & furnishings was almost £17.5 billion in 2017 and exceeded all other spend in the household goods sector. This represented a 21% increase from 2014. Year on year growth from 2014 to 2016 was 6.9% and 4.8% respectively. However, growth from 2016 to 2017 was higher at 7.9%.

Latest data shows that furniture and furnishings sales continued to rise into early 2018 with first and second quarter consumer expenditure being respectively 8.5% and 8.3% higher than for the equivalent periods in 2017, despite many retailers acknowledging the challenges faced.

This demonstrates that the furniture industry is thriving, creating jobs for our local communities and bringing interest and buyers from abroad. Like the art of upholstery itself, the furniture industry’s contribution to the UK economy and balance of trade is so much more than the colourful fabric covering detailed work which so often goes unseen.

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