Challenge in the short term, but hopes of swift recovery

The British Furniture Manufacturers’ latest Economic Review outlines the impact of a third COVID-19 lockdown and the challenges posed by Brexit – but pinpoints indications of a speedy recovery in the spring.

Managing Director of the BFM, Nick Garratt, examined figures released by the Bank of England and the Office of National Statistics, as well as reporting from the EY Item Club and Capital Economics, to gauge the national economic picture and how it impacts on the furniture manufacturing sector.

He also considered research from Springboard and GfK to gain insight into consumer spending – noting a drop in footfall to retail destinations, and a slip back in confidence in January.

The Economic Review includes an overview of inflation, exchange rates and disruption to the supply chain, as well as Nick’s own analysis.

Nick said: “The third lockdown had resulted in a rapid fall in consumer spending and our members are reporting order intake levels being 40-60% of the levels experienced a year ago.

“Members are reporting a challenging short-term position but most still have a strong order book from the Q4 bounce back last year.

“As Britain’s COVID-19 vaccination programme – one of the fastest in the world so far – is rolled out and restrictions are gradually lifted we are hopeful that the recovery- supported by high household savings levels- will be swift.”

The BFM Monthly Economic Review is available for members and those with an interest in the furniture sector at http://bfm.org.uk/images/economicreview/BFM_Economic_Review_-_Feb_21.pdf