What do you think? From emerging trends to the latest business principles, Furniture News is setting out to gauge the trade’s feelings on a variety of industry-specific topics. Today, we’re asking our panel: When do you prioritise buying, and why?
Wendy Martin Green (Peter Green Furnishers): I think we are always looking at new products, but the two general times of the year are January and September, in tune with the trade shows. I would say that early spring is more the time when we look at beds, cabinetry and upholstery, and in late summer and autumn we turn our minds to lighting, accessories for Christmas and spring, and the next year’s garden furniture offerings.
Huw Williams (Toons Furnishers): The January Furniture Show at the NEC is normally the most important show for us because it gives us the opportunity and time to compare a lot of products in one place. We also try to attend as many other shows as possible, especially the AIS INDX shows (we’re a member of the buying group)
Mike Murray (Land of Beds, AIS): We look to buy during the summer to ensure we can fulfil the demand brought about by Black Friday, Christmas cut-offs and the Boxing Day sales period.
Royce Clark (Collier & Clark Group): Normally January is our main month of buying new lines, which is led by the January Furniture Show, but in recent years that has changed to be more spread out over the smaller shows or visiting show vans.
Steve Adams (Mattress Online): From October onwards we begin stocking up for our key peak promotion periods – this will cover from Black Friday through to the end of January.
Paul Wray (Modern Outlook Furniture): For me, the buying of product and materials is constant, year in, year out, as I supply all markets with furniture worldwide.
Peter Harding (Fairway Furniture): The pandemic has changed this, and whether it ever reverts to normal remains to be seen. Historically, we’d buy at two or three main shows in the year, as that fitted the key trading periods – but now, there’s much more of an incremental ‘drip drip’ of new product as suppliers look to realign their ranges after two years of little change.
Steve Pickering (Sussex Beds): Today there is no specific time of year for prioritisation of buying. Buying is now a constant process of evaluation and review. Adjustments are implemented as performance dictates or new lines emerge.
Andy Stockwell (Gardiner Haskins): The trade shows are key times. It’s when new product is launched and new trends come to light. Inevitably then, the key buying times are dictated by the trade shows – but it’s important to keep an open mind. I’m always willing to look at new product, even if I’m not ready to make a commitment. Sometimes something comes along just when you have an opening or opportunity, and you have to take it when it presents.
This article featured in the May 2021 edition of Furniture News magazine.