Sales volumes holding up but value down

Sales volume is holding up, but value is down, says the National Bed Federation (NBF) as it reveals the latest results from its State of Trade report.

Sales data from the second quarter of the year (April to June 2019) is gathered independently from NBF members to gain insight into the bed market.

Comparing quarter two 2019 versus the same period in 2018, the report shows that like for like volume was level (based on 43 members who submitted in both periods) but that value fell by 2.5%. Like for like bed sets volume was up by 7% but value dropped by 5.5% with the average selling price down from £215 to £189 (across all sizes). Mattresses sold separately were slightly down on a like for like basis by just over 1% on volume and value.

Said Jessica Alexander, executive director of the NBF said: “While it’s great to see that sales volume is holding up, revenue is down which suggests that there is a squeeze on selling prices and a further squeeze on profit margins so our members will be feeling the pinch.

“Some encouraging news can be found in that while only 15% of members were positive about the state of trade (substantially lower than the 29% who felt optimistic in the same period in 2018) it is at the same level as the first quarter of this year – so at least things haven’t got any worse since April!”

Other findings from the report included 13% of members reporting a decrease in selling prices which is nearly double compared to quarter one (7%). However, 26% had increased their prices with a small number increasing prices by more than 5%.

Worryingly, 41% reported a drop in profit margins in this quarter, compared with just 7% declaring an increase – a sign of the tightening economy.

Added Jessica: “It is still a very tough, uncertain market at the moment and with more than half of our members concerned about the level of orders affecting their productivity during quarter three of 2019, it looks like there may be a rocky road ahead.”

The NBF Sales Tracker and Barometer of Trade report is available in full to participating NBF members via the protected members’ only area of the website.

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