18 July 2024, 08:12
By Furniture News Mar 14, 2023

Winner: The Furniture Awards 2023 (Best of British)

The Furniture Awards returned at this year’s January Furniture Show, to single out the suppliers setting the pace in their respective fields. From daring designers to green giants, this year’s winners represent just what our industry is capable of …

The winner of the Best of British category this year was GNG Group

British-made goods gathered momentum during the pandemic, and there were many examples of excellent homegrown design and manufacture at this year’s show. This category recognises businesses that principally make in the UK, and that demonstrate high standards of output, with regard for their place in the local economy.

Wakefield’s GNG Group, a foam specialist, and the manufacturer behind such bed brands as Komfi, Nectar Sleep and Sonlevo, demonstrated impressive growth in the past year, underpinned by significant investment, job creation, enviable green credentials and a good eye for brand delivery. 

With its 40-year heritage, GNG Group has established itself as a leading UK manufacturer and international brand leader, supplying performance foam products for the healthcare, consumer and contract mattress sectors. In addition to its consumer brands, it is one of the largest indirect suppliers of medical mattresses to the NHS – its 80-strong mattress team worked overtime to meet high demand during the height of the pandemic.

Last year, the business invested £1.75m in turning a dormant site into a 40,000ft2 factory and warehouse in Normanton dedicated to its fast-growing mattress division. Having already created 20 new jobs, it expects to add another 30 over the next two years. Turnover increased from £7.5m in 2020 to £10m in 2021 (up +33% YoY), and is projected to reach £12m in 2022 (+20% YoY).

GNG has also embraced the green agenda. It says it was the first UK manufacturer to produce a carbon-neutral mattress, and its new facility is equipped with low-energy lighting, with solar power and electric forklift trucks soon to be introduced. Elsewhere, the manufacturer has developed alternative mattress fillings, in its mission to deliver an increasingly circular offer.

On top of these developments, GNG acquired part of The Foam Company last year, including its well-known Sonlevo mattress brand, which now been integrated into its operations. 

Chair Phillip Whittell comments: “One of our main aims is to become the leading foam mattress manufacturer in the UK. Ongoing R&D and the use of new technology such as our ground-breaking Ecofoam sets us apart from the competition, and our investment in carbon-neutral mattress initiatives makes GNG an industry leader. 

“Our aim is for this division to continue to see +20% growth every year. We aim to continue to be a great success story for UK manufacturing, and look forward to many years of growth and investment in the local community.”

MD Darren Potterton adds: “We are very proud to have been given this industry accolade, which is a real tribute to the hard work and commitment of the GNG team. To achieve this recognition marks another important milestone in our evolution.

“We’re looking forward to another busy year, with a strong order book and lots of new contracts driving further growth. In terms of key trends, people are increasingly looking at sustainability and wanting greener products. Fortunately, we started our journey to become a carbon-neutral company a few years ago, so we are in a strong position to continue innovating in this area.”

The judges said: “These numbers are pretty incredible! With growth and responsible development across the board – plus growing success overseas, and advanced R&D innovation helping it get ahead of the crowd – GNG’s sense of ambition is palpable. A worthy winner.” 

Read more about this year's award winners in the March issue of Furniture News, here

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