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Verdict forecast: ‘No respite for furniture retailers until 2014’

Battered furniture and flooring retailers will not have any relief from punishing conditions until 2014 as the housing market remains stagnant.

Retail researcher Verdict’s latest report on the market forecasts sales in the category to fall 3.3% to £11.6bn next year, on top of an anticipated 5.5% decline this year.

The sector is then expected to shrink 0.5% in 2013, before growing 1.6% in 2014.

The gloomy forecasts came as floorings market leader Carpetright revealed another sales fall in its second quarter and warned that full-year profits will come in at the low end of expectations.

Carpetright group finance director Neil Page said conditions are “tough” and that the retailer has had to up the ante on promotions to win customer spend.

A director of one furniture retailer shared the gloomy outlook. “We’re not planning for any uplift in the market next year – any increase will be self generated,” he said.

Verdict also forecasts the wider ‘home’ market – including furniture and flooring as well as homewares, electricals DIY and gardening – to contract 1.3% in 2012, after a decline of 3.2% in 2011. It expects limited growth of 0.8% in 2013.

Verdict analyst Sarah Peters said the lacklustre housing market, rising unemployment and falling confidence are hitting home-related retailers as big-ticket purchases are being put off.

Source : Nicola Harrison – Retail Week

28 October 2011
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