Furniture trade flourishes

The Austrian furniture retail trade grew for a sixth year in a row in 2009, a market analysis expert has revealed.RegioPlan official Michael Oberweger announced today (Thurs)that the sector managed to increase turnover by 1.6 per cent last year compared to the 2008 business figures.Oberweger said he expected the furniture retail sector to grow by two per cent year on year this year.He claimed chains had the best chances to improve their turnover with so-called lifestyle stores in shopping centres which rather focus on accessories like vases, frames and mirrors. The RegioPlan analyst explained furniture shops raked in as much money by selling such smaller objects as they did selling furniture last year.There are almost 1,600 furniture shops across Austria. Ten new stores were opened in 2009.Around 75 per cent of all furniture branches in the country are managed by Austrian companies kika/Leiner, XXXLutz and Swedish giant Ikea.Both kika/Leiner and XXXLutz are also active in several other Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries.Kika/Leiner – which has around 8,000 employees – recently also announced plans to open a store in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv, Israel, by the end of this year.XXXLutz reportedly spent between 150 and 200 million Euros to snatch up Slovenian competitor Lesnina earlier this year.News of a prospering furniture trade comes just days after it emerged that the domestic sporting goods retail sector managed to increase its turnover by 3.5 per cent to 2.2 billion Euros year on year in 2009.