The latest economic review from the British Furniture Manufacturers’ (BFM) association highlights continuing growth in retail – particularly in DIY and household furnishing – but warns winter could bring a sharp fall in sales.

BFM MD Nick Garratt has examined reports from sources including the British Retail Consortium (BRC), the Bank of England and the EY Item Club, as part of the trade association’s monthly report.

The review of data for October and November suggests that six months of growth in the sector could be impacted by rising unemployment and falling consumer confidence due to the Covid-19 pandemic – although imminent vaccination programmes have been hailed as the "light at the end of the tunnel".

Nick says: “Since the lockdown in spring, the furniture sector has clearly been a big beneficiary of consumers’ switch from services to buying goods, and in particular the desire to improve their living space.

“Looking forward, people are beginning to lose their nerve regarding their personal finances, and as job losses begin to bite this will create a headwind for future recovery. The vaccine will provide a much-needed boost.

“In the recent BFM trade survey, a balance of 81% of manufacturers reported rising material costs, and almost all respondents expected further rises as we approach Christmas and enter the new year.”

The BFM Monthly Economic Review is available here.