New faces – including some of the UK’s largest furniture suppliers – will provide a fresh twist for Manchester Furniture Show, the industry’s key summer event …
Cast-iron certainties and the British summertime sit uncomfortably together in the same sentence – July might bring sunshine, it might bring showers. It might even bring World Cup glory. What it will definitely bring is the Manchester Furniture Show, perhaps the industry’s friendliest trade show, with a raft of new exhibitors bursting with innovative products, services and ideas.
That’s the view of Tony Payne, director at South-east retailer Beaumont Beds, with 15 stores in the London area. “As a buyer we look to visit exhibitions with the hope to get one or two finds – perhaps a product, contact, idea, or just an inspiration,” he Tony. “Any one of these would determine a success – and we have had many finds at the Manchester Furniture Show over the years.”
The 2014 edition of the Manchester event, due to take place at Manchester Central in the heart of the city between 13-16th July, promises to deliver once again. Tony’s words are testament to the enduring appeal and the far-reaching geographical draw of the show, which is now in its 15th year under the stewardship of Furniture & Gift Fairs.
Laraine Janes and Theresa Raymond, the co-organisers and driving force behind Furniture & Gift Fairs, have had a busy year already, having secured the NEC to launch the January Furniture Show in 2015 – but this summer’s Manchester event remains core to the company’s strategy.
This July’s event again boasts an impressive exhibitor roster, including major debuts from the likes of Westbridge Furniture Designs, one of the largest manufacturers in the UK home furnishings sector.
Five years on from launching into the independents sector, the North Wales-based company will preview a new upholstery collection.
Fellow upholstery supply giant Lebus is also showing for the first time at the Main Hall at Manchester Central. It says it will show a number of collections to build on its successful NEC launches, all with a focus on design, value and commerciality. It will also have an eye on promotion, with its newly-established Premier seven-day-delivery range geared to maximise sales through the crucial back end of the year.
Another debut exhibitor is Charltons, a Somerset-based cabinet furniture supplier which can trace its roots back to the early 1900s through the saw-milling heritage of AJ Charltons & Sons, the company behind the brand. Charltons has emerged as a leading modern-day purveyor of dining, living and bedroom cabinet furniture.
TCS is looking to further expand its relationships with independent retailers - who form the backbone of its customer base - and is excited at having the opportunity to meet with them in Manchester. The company will be exhibit its large range of quality upholstery - further enhanced this year with new leathers - as well as dining and bedroom offerings. It will also have many new mattresses on display along with its successful in-house studio displays, aimed specifically at creating the ideal setting in independent retailers’ showrooms.
Industry stalwart Corndell will launch its UK-designed living and dining range Indus. The collection is constructed from oak with a pale finish, and combines smooth curves and pristine lines. It will also show the Steven Shell brand - having agreed an exclusive UK distributorship arrangement for 2014 onwards - including small and easy-order options.
Carlton Furniture, a Midland-based supplier, is returning to the Manchester Furniture Show with two new ranges, including Windsor painted dining and Essen modern oak dining. It also plans to show existing bestsellers.
North-east furniture distributor Baker Furniture will exhibit its successful reclaimed ranges, while GCL and Time Living will add new bedroom and bed-frame designs to their respective product portfolios.
Upscale sofa manufacturer Wade will bring two models and 30 new fabrics with a number of existing best-sellers to be shown in new clothes. The company will also build on the reintroduction of the Welbeck brand with another airing in Manchester. Welbeck was created for retailers looking for the design, quality and security of a brand that is not discounted on every high street and website, the company says.
Minster will unveil new models in its collection of tub chairs, which are now wholly produced at its UK manufacturing plant. Speed of delivery has also been improved, with orders turned around in two to three weeks, with customers able to choose from own-supplied fabric options or from an impressive array imported from mills worldwide. The company also plans to build on the success of its locally-upholstered Louis-style chairs to introduce new chair frames in distressed finish, cream, antique gold and antique silver.
GFA is another first-time exhibitor and will feature a range of traditional and contemporary swivel recliners and riser recliners, while Comfort Zone Sofas’ introductions will include premium quality materials, such as carded fibre, which features in the high-end models.
Bedroom supplier Kingstown will exhibit its new sliding wardrobe range, which features The Great British Slider, as well as its latest collections of classic painted finishes. Its KT Furniture division will again be shown in Manchester following its launch in 2013.
While products dominate the launch agenda, services are also a key component of any show, and this year’s Manchester Furniture Show will have its share. These include business management software and ecommerce websites provider Optimise Solutions – whose client roster spans the likes of Ponsford, TR Hayes and Classic Furniture – along with companies including Staingard, which has a joint venture with HFR Furniture Repairs and provides services such as furniture care kits, insured furniture care plans and training.