The all-new January Furniture Show has been declared a success by exhibitors and the organisers. The event, which was run for the first time by organisers Laraine Janes and Theresa Raymond, took place from 13-15th January, and was the 25th furniture show to be held in January at the NEC.
Says January Furniture Show co-director Laraine Janes: "It was clear that exhibitors wanted the show to stay at the NEC and they wanted it in January. The success of the 2015 show is down to the fact that more than 300 of the UK's leading furnishings companies voted with their feet and exhibited – and retailers and key buyers turned out in force to support it.
"It has been an amazing few days. In our wildest dreams we couldn't have hoped for a better outcome."
Many exhibitors reported their best-ever sales in many years, while others commented positively on customers visiting the show.
Glenn Aston, MD of Ultra Furniture, commented: "This is the first time in eight years we have come to the show, and we have come out well ahead of target. In fact on the first day, despite having our full team here, we simply didn't have enough staff to deal with all the customers."
At Uber Home, MD Paul Robinson celebrated his "best show in 35 years", while at Alpine Lounge, owner Charles Eveleigh reported that sales had nearly doubled compared to 2014.
Paul Islip, MD of Westbridge Furniture, commented: "We're absolutely delighted with the way our stand has turned out and the way it has been received - and also with the quantity and quality of customers who have come to the show. We have worked very hard to put the show together and are highly delighted with the response. We also really appreciate the support that retailers have given to the show."
Said James Painter, joint MD of Global Furniture Alliance: "We've had a very good show. The organisation of it all has been incredible and very personable - you always know there's someone on the end of the line that can help. There's an undercurrent to it all that says ‘the show is in safe hands'."
Malcolm Nix, sales and marketing director, Wood Bros, said: "The show has got a really great vibe. From building the stand through to the actual opening of the show, the attitude of people has been very positive. Starting on a Tuesday instead of the traditional Sunday has given the event a totally different dynamic, with the people who came through the door genuinely out to buy. It was a great day for us. Theresa and Laraine have taken what was an ailing show, made it significantly better and created a positive atmosphere for great business."
Rif Lalani, MD, Bentley Designs said: "We're really happy that the show has remained in January - we see it as the national show and it is very important to us strategically as we use it to launch all our new ranges. We've met all our targets in terms of seeing a lot of major accounts, seeing new retailers and doing deals for the year. We're delighted that the show next year will go back to the later January timing and that it will start on a Sunday."
George McGraw, joint MD, Morris Furniture Group, said: "The show has been well organised and, for us, having three really good business days has worked well. There's been a great buzz and it has probably been our best show for quite a number of years. It's been well attended and I think there has been a better quality of exhibitor than we have seen for a while. We're delighted with it."
Mark Rawcliffe of the Febland Group commented: "The use of space at this year's show is much better. Instead of being strung out across several halls, the halls being used are packed with stands which actually makes it a lot easier for visitors to get around - and means exhibitors get to see more of their customers too. There have also been a lot of nice little touches, such as coffee vouchers and a drinks party which makes it feel a lot friendlier and more personal. Along with doing good business it really has ticked all the boxes for us."
Finally, James Appleyard, national sales manager for Vogue and Limelight Beds, said: "The bottom line is that the organisers have listened to what exhibitors and visitors have said and this is being reflected in the timings for the 2016 show. So this show can only go from strength to strength."
The winners of The Furniture Awards, delivered by the fair's organiser in collaboration with Furniture News, were unveiled at the show. The programme was designed to recognise the best in new product launched at the event.
The winner of the Value Category was City, a comprehensive weathered oak dining and occasional range from Bentley Designs. The Mid-level Category winner was the Dexter side table and accompanying range from Gallery Direct's Hudson Living collection, and the Upper-level Category award went to Henderson Russell's Sloane sofa.
Plans for the January Furniture Show 2016 are already in place. It will include the Sunday opening on 24th January 2016, and hall 5 is being reintroduced. The 2016 January Furniture Show will run for three days from Sunday 24th to Tuesday 26th January.