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Furniture: first slowdown after a breathtaking race

First alarm bell for the furniture sector, after months of impetuous growth. Furniture proved to be one of the most reactive branches to the pandemic crisis: by mid-year its turnover was positioned well above pre-Covid levels and in June it reached + 7.3% sales abroad compared to the first six months of 2019.

Difficulty in fulfilling orders

On the other hand, July saw the first slowdown, albeit positive (+ 6.7%), of a growth that seemed unstoppable. The reason is not to be attributed to a drop in demand, but to the difficulty of companies to fulfill orders, explains Claudio Feltrin, president of FederlegnoArredo. In fact, the time needed to transform orders into turnover is expanding, provided that the latter are not canceled due to delivery delays.

Stocks running low and raw materials skyrocketing

In the first six months of the year, inventories allowed the sector to make up for the lack of raw materials and supply difficulties. Starting from July, however, those same stocks started to run low and at the same time there was no decrease in the price increases of materials and logistics.
These circumstances suggest a gradual slowdown in sales and revenues compared to the first half of the year.

Incentives and sustainability

Hence the importance of building incentives to support the entire supply chain. The approval of the Budget Law therefore plays a key role in protecting the growth of the sector.

A second determining factor is linked to the issue of sustainability. It is not a mere label, but a real development factor for furniture companies. Only a sustainable sector will in fact be able to prolong the current growth trend.

Differences within the sector

However, the situation is complex. The larger and more structured realities are already following a sustainable path, while the small ones remain excluded due to a lack of resources and skills. Precisely for this reason, FederlegnoArredo has drawn up the “Decalogue“, with guidelines to raise awareness among associates on the advantages of a green approach.

Supporting small businesses

The moment is right, politics is sensitive to the subject and there are important community resources in the field. The opportunity is therefore unrepeatable and the federation does not intend to let it slip away.

For this reason, starting from the first months of 2022, an operational plan will be presented to favor companies wishing to undertake a path of sustainability.

Source: Il Sole 24 Ore

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