23 May 2024, 07:26
By Furniture News Nov 30, 2016

The Furniture Awards 2017 judges – Malcolm Walker

The Furniture Awards return in January to recognise and celebrate the industry’s champion suppliers. The awards – developed by Furniture News in partnership with the January Furniture Show – offer the event’s exhibitors the opportunity to put the best of their new products before a panel of expert judges.

The awards scheme, which is now approaching its third year, aims to identify and reward the best new products launched at the January exhibition, the principal launch platform for new models and ranges into the UK market.

Each exhibitor is permitted to submit an entry within one of the four product categories – Bedroom, Dining, Living or Decor – which will be evaluated based on criteria such as value, quality and marketability. The most promising entries will be shortlisted and inspected on site, before the suppliers of the winning entries are recognised and revealed on the first day of the show. The deadline for entries is Friday 9th December.

The awards are co-ordinated and chaired by Paul Farley, editor of Furniture News magazine, and the 2017 judging panel comprises a mix of new and returning judges: Malcolm Walker, director of buying for Furniture Village; Diana Celella, award-winning interior designer and president elect of SBID; Rob Scarlett, furniture designer; and Royce Clark, MD of Grampian Furnishers.

Ahead of the 2017 edition Furniture News, presents an opportunity to meet one of the four judges …

Malcolm Walker 

After judging the 2016 edition, Furniture Village’s director of buying returns to the panel. For the last 44 years, Malcolm’s career has revolved around retail, and chiefly the home furnishing market.

In his current position, Malcolm is responsible for the product direction and sourcing of suppliers, product categories, styles and price architecture for Furniture Village, in addition to ensuring the most commercial layout, presentation and relativity of its store showrooms.

“In my opinion, it’s the best job in the industry,” says Malcolm, “and plays to my commercial instincts, retailing strengths and my creative ability. It’s my job to bring products to life.

“I have been with Furniture Village for 18 years, and have experienced and been part of the exciting growth story, from 12 stores to our current levels. During that time I have seen the business grow and evolve from a predominantly UK supply base into a respected, influential and global player within our industry.

“I have performed a number of roles during my time with Furniture Village, including: buying controller, cabinets; buying controller, upholstery; then director of buying on our trading board.”

Prior to this, Malcolm spent over 20 years with the Maple, Waring & Gillow group, in various roles from sales consultant to store management, making the  move into buying in 1987, whilst managing the flagship international store on Tottenham Court Road, where he met Furniture Village founder Peter Harrison during his short spell as a director there.

“I then moved into group buying for Maples when the Maple, Waring & Gillow business was acquired by Asda/Allied Carpets, becoming buying controller and then director of buying prior to joining Furniture Village,” he says. “My early years were spent in a family-owned department store, Newhouses in Middlesborough, in warehousing, distribution, display and sales … until I got the furniture bug!”

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