Furniture retailers are hoping for a brisk start to the crucial Boxing Day Sales period on the back of rising consumer confidence and improvements in the housing market.
Big-ticket store groups told Retail Week they had not changed their promotional stance from last year in terms of timing and level of discounting.
DFS chief executive Ian Filby said: “I’m encouraged by current footfall. We’re going into the [Sale] pretty buoyant. I think the economy remains challenging. For young families things are still really tough, and that customer base comes out in the winter Sale. Footfall and [web] traffic shows a good level of interest.”
Multiyork is launching its first TV ad for six years to take advantage of Boxing Day trade.
Multiyork joint managing director Oliver Spark said: “The real shift for us is that we’re about to be on TV this Christmas which reflects the level of confidence on where we are. I think most of the trade feels more confident. The general feeling is in the economy things are a bit better and it’s beginning to transition into big ticket.”
Furniture Village director of marketing and ecommerce Charlie Harrison said the retailer is expecting Boxing Day Sales to be “comfortably ahead of last year, especially off the back of a very good autumn period”.
John Lewis last week reported furniture was its best-performing category, with sales surging 21% on last year.
Habitat managing director Clare Askem said she was “cautiously optimistic” about the Sale, which kicked off today. “There are a lot more customers waiting for deals so people will buy into the Sale,” she said.
Filby said there is “no significant change” on its promotional stance this year. “All the players in the market will be aggressive with their opening price points,” he said. “It will be fairly similar to last year.”
The retailers said they felt positive about trading in 2014 due to the expected uptick in consumer confidence and the improving housing market.
Filby: “People are feeling slightly more confident in terms of the safety of their jobs. It’s good for the market. By next summer we will hopefully have generated some momentum. But I don’t think it will be a boom year.”
Harrison said: “As the economy and housing market in particular continue to improve, Furniture Village expects that the demand for big-ticket items will further increase.”
Askem said trade is “gently bubbling along”. She added: “It doesn’t feel like it’s getting worse but it doesn’t feel like the market is massively up.”