15 July 2024, 04:17
By Furniture News Nov 29, 2023

Manufacturers pessimistic about trading, finds BFM

Optimism about the trading environment is fading among British furniture manufacturers, according to the latest BFM Trade & Price Trends Survey, which covered over 4000 employees and primarily looked at the six months' trade to October this year, and future expectations.

One fifth (21%) of respondents reported that they were more pessimistic than in April this year, and 32% said that trade was worse than 12 months ago. Negative results were also reported for order intake and the volume of output.

On a more positive note, raw material prices were considered less of a pressure than they were six months ago by a balance of 11%, although labour and overhead cost pressures were still at a comparatively high level, cited by 74% and 47% respectively.

It is worth remembering that in September 2022, prices were up on the year by +12%, and by over 20% for a consistent period not long prior to that.

Nearly two-fifths (37%) of companies still reported moderate or significant problems in recruiting skilled labour.

BFM MD Phil Spademan says: “The latest Trade and Price Trends Survey reveals a dip in optimism from respondents, with predictions for the next six months remaining in the negative for expected output and orders. However, skill shortages were not as pronounced as in recent surveys.”

A full version of the document, which features an overview of key industry statistics, including trends in sales, materials, labour, overheads and margins, is available to BFM members from the association’s website.

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