The future of Homebase's presence in the Republic of Ireland is in doubt after it the group placed its Irish operation into examinership. Homebase has 15 branches across the Republic and wants to close three of them – Fonthill in Dublin, Carlow and Castlebar in County Mayo – as soon as possible.
Ikea has insisted that its proposed store in Sheffield will not damage the city centre, after John Lewis said it would draw trade away. The chain wants to build a 37,000sqft store Sheffield Road, Tinsley at a cost of £60m. However John Lewis has objected.
John Lewis saw an almost double-digit drop in sales last week as consumers preferred the sun to shopping.
Upholstery manufacturer La-Z-Boy is to enter the outdoor furniture market, with a collection which includes reclining backs and footrests. The Seabrook range, built around a rust-proof aluminium frame with recliners featuring UV-protected resin weave and UV-protected quick-dry upholstery, will be launched at the GLEE exhibition in September.
Discounts by department stores helped retail sales edge up in June. According to the Office for National Statistics the volume of retail sales rose by 0.2% in June compared with May. Sales for the second quarter were 0.9% higher than the first.
The proposed Southeast Asia Furniture & Interiors Import-Export Exhibition (SEAFIE) has been moved from September to be part of next year's MIFF event.
Homewares sales continued to strengthen in June, as kitchens drove the market. The overall homewares market saw year on year growth of 2.8% in June, up from the 2.5% growth in May and the 1.7% seen in April, according to research firm GfK.
Kingsmead Carpets and Georgian Carpets are to merge from 1 August 2013.
'Both businesses have established a solid base in the market place over the last 10 years, however we feel that to take the businesses forward this can be best delivered through an enlarged single sales and marketing structure,' says Martin West, newly appointed md.
Furniture distribution company F Edmonson and Sons is to almost double its workforce after improving its management systems. The Morecambe, Lancashire company, founded in 1948, has updated its management, accounting and email systems so that they work together and are more efficient.
Carpetright emerged as a weather loser, with the heatwave deterring shoppers from flooring. The chain saw UK sales drop by 3.3% in the 13 weeks to 20 July and by 1.9% on a like for like basis. Like for like retail sales were down by 1%.
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