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February sales cool in Scotland
Date: March 31, 2008Author: CABINET MAKER

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Furniture and lighting sales showed a year-on-year fall in February - the sixth consecutive month of decline.

National Statistics said trade in the sector was worth £739.3m (£184.8m per week) last month.

This compares to £786.9m (£196.7m per week) in February 2007, a 6% fall.

August 2007 was the last time that the sector saw a year-on-year increase.

February sales were 1.2% down on January when there was £935.1m (£187m per week) worth of trade.

Many retailers continued with New Year sales well into February with some not ending until the latter part of the month.

The figures are yet another blow for the industry and retailers will be hoping that the Easter period will have brought an increase in trade, with yet more sales.

But so far, March has been unimpressive.

Chris Jankowoski, Furniture World London owner said that trade was poor in January and February and that so far March had proved tough.

'This year is very quiet,' he said. 'People do not want to spend money on furniture. I had hoped it would have picked up before Easter but it has not. Maybe it will be June or July when it will pick up because the summer is busy for us.'

Worse still, Mohammed Ashfaq, Stratford Furnishers owner in Birmingham said that he may have to close after 18 years of trading due to the dip in sales.

'Sales were down more than 10% [in February] and this month is not looking better. We did not have a good time last year and so far, 2008 is worse. I do not know how long we can carry on. I will wait until the summer,' he said.

Ashfaq claimed it was not only the furniture and lighting sector that was struggling, saying that the whole of retail was finding it hard.

However, overall retail sales in the UK rose last month by 1% from January and 5.5% from February 2007. This was mainly driven by food sales.


Source from: Cabinet Maker


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