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    Chinese firm buys Swiss office furniture maker DETAY
    Chinese firm buys ...

    Switzerland-based office furniture company Lista Office Group (LO) was recently acquired by Chinese manufacturer Zhejiang Henglin Chair Industry (Henglin). Switzerland-based office furniture company Lista Office Group (LO) was recently acquired by Chinese manufacturer Zhejiang Henglin Chair Industry (Henglin). LO said the sale forms part of its international expansion and growth strategy, with its Leinhard family owners having been looking for some time for a strategic partner. After talks with a number of companies from the US, Europe and Asia, they opted for the offer from Henglin, a firm established 20 years ago by the Wang family and now publicly listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange. Henglin is a major exporter of office chairs and employs around 3,000 staff. It has reportedly been looking to develop its manufacturing infrastructure outside China in an attempt to minimise the impact of trade tariffs imposed by the US and now it has established a foothold in Europe. LO has two manufacturing sites in Switzerland, around 330 employees and annual sales estimated to be in the region of CHF100 million ($100 million). The company can trace its origins back to 1945 when young engineer and entrepreneur Alfred Lienhard started a garden furniture and steel products company. Leinhard’s granddaughter, Franziska Lienhard Nava, is currently the group’s chairwoman. The transaction was effective 31 May. Financial details were not released. Degersheim, Switzerland www.opi.net    17 June 2019  

    Trump Administration Seeking To Overhaul Forest Management Rules DETAY
    Trump ...

    A logger cuts a large fir tree in the Umpqua National Forest near Oakridge, Ore. Federal land managers are proposing a sweeping rule change that could expand commercial logging on Forest Service land. DON RYAN / AP Federal land managers on Wednesday proposed sweeping rule changes to a landmark environmental law that would allow them to fast-track certain forest management projects, including logging and prescribed burning. The U.S. Forest Service, under Chief Vicki Christiansen, is proposing revisions to its National Environmental Policy Act regulations that could limit environmental review and public input on projects ranging from forest health and wildfire mitigation to infrastructure upgrades to commercial logging on federal land. "We do more analysis than we need, we take more time than we need and we slow down important work to protect communities," Christiansen told NPR. The proposed rule changes include an expansion of "categorical exclusions." These are often billed as tools that give land managers the discretion to bypass full-blown environmental studies in places where they can demonstrate there would be no severe impacts or degradation to the land. U.S. Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen, shown in her office in Washington, D.C., says the proposed rule changes are about efficiency, not shortcuts. SHURAN HUANG / NPR John Gale, with the conservation group Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, says that if applied carefully and narrowly to certain projects, these exclusions could help lower the fire risk. But he's skeptical because the administration recently rolled back protections for clean water and wildlife. "We also don't want to see this become the Trojan horse for unchecked resource extraction," Gale says. The Forest Service insists this is not about ramping up commercial logging in public forests. On average, according to Christiansen, it can take big restoration projects that generally have broad support as long as two years to approve. She predicts that time could be cut by more than half if the rule changes move forward. "Let me be clear that the Forest Service will continue to deliver high-quality, science-based analysis," she said. "We're proposing more efficiency, not shortcutting. In fact, [we're] enhancing, where we can, public involvement." Federal agencies have long complained of "analysis paralysis" when it comes to getting large landscape-scale projects approved. Policymakers frequently decry what they call frivolous lawsuits by litigious-minded environmental groups who use the courts to try to stop logging on public land. But according to the government's own analysis — the last done in 2010 during the Obama administration — fewer than one-fifth of all timber and forest projects are appealed by citizens or environmental groups. A bigger holdup is budget cuts, particularly in the Forest Service, where money has been diverted away from wildlife, habitat and forestry programs to pay for the skyrocketing costs of wildfire suppression. The proposed rule changes are subject to a 60-day public comment period. Barring litigation or other holdups, the Forest Service hopes to finalize them by summer of next year.   www.vpr.org June 12, 2019

    100 million-euro plant  investment from Turkish furniture surface manufacturer DETAY
    100 million-euro ...

    Germany-based Turkish kitchen and furniture surface manufacturer Fine Decor is building a plant with an investment of up to 100 million euros to expand in Europe. Founded in 2004 by Sekman family living in Germany, Fine Decor accelerated its activities to become one of the biggest in Europe. Serving with the vision of becoming one of the leading companies of the kitchen and furniture industry, the company laid the foundations of its new production facility. The project aims to employ approximately 300 people. The amount of investment in the project is expected to reach 80-100 million euros. He recently held the groundbreaking ceremony for the company's production factory. Ruken Sekman, Chairman of the Board of Fine Decor GmbH, General Manager Hasan Sekman, Mayor of Oelde Knop, Mayor of Rheda-Wiedenbrück and Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Aurea Industrial Zone, Dr. Mettenborg, President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the North Rhine-Westphalia. Göske was also present. Will provide job opportunities for 120 people According to the information provided, the first stage of the production factory has a closed area of ​​12 thousand 500 square meters and will be established on a total of about 25 thousand square meters. The first stage, which is said to be about 35 million euros, is scheduled to end in February 2020. Approximately 120 people will be employed in the factory production will be transferred to the recycling of plastic waste materials reported. The second stage is planned to start in 2022 as a result of the feasibility studies conducted in 2016. Furthermore, with the second stage, the investment amount of the company is expected to reach approximately 80-100 million euros. It is stated that the machine lines equipped with the latest technology to be used in the production facility are the first in Europe and that they will continue to be one of the pioneers in the furniture and kitchen industry worldwide by being integrated with Industry 4.0. As a result of the project, it was emphasized that approximately 250-300 people will be employed.

    Former PM Raila Odinga meets stakeholders over Kenyas forest cover DETAY
    Former PM Raila ...

    NAIROBI, KENYA: Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga on Wednesday held talks with key environment stakeholders on areas to improve conservation around the country. Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Chief Conservator Julius Kamau shake hands after a meeting in Nairobi The meeting at Karura Forest hosted by the Kenya Forest Service Board Chairman Peter Kinyua and the Chief Conservator of Forests Julius Kamau explored collaboration between counties, national government, and Kenya Forest Service in hastening the process of signing transition implementation plans (TIPS). This will an enabling environment that can support a diversified approach towards the rehabilitation of riparian lands and swamps with bamboo, as well as reviving the bamboo industry in Kenya. Currently, 29 Counties have already signed TIPS with 18 County governments yet to sign.   Also deliberated on were strategic interventions aimed at restoration of degraded gazetted public and community forests in the country towards the attainment of the 10 per cent forest cover by 2022 in line with the Presidential directive. “Met with stakeholders in the forestry sector and discussed strategic interventions aimed at increasing forest cover in Kenya including engaging County Governments, promoting PPP in forest conservation and banning the use of cedar products among other measures,” posted Raila on his Facebook timeline. The meeting comes a day after Kenya Forest Service kicked off a sh114.9million Mikoko project in Lamu County. The two- year project will focus on generating important scientific information about mangroves, to inform best practices for conservation. Mikoko Project will also enhance the development of the Blue Economy which targets to protect Kenya's marine environment and fragile coastal ecosystems and preserve biodiversity in the Indian Ocean. KFS will work with French Research institutes, CIRAD, and IRD among other partner organizations. Ambassador of France, Aline Muster - Menager and Chief Conservator of Forests, Julius Kamau. Ambassador of France, Aline Muster - Menager and Chief Conservator of Forests, Julius Kamau. The project was officially launched on Tuesday at a ceremony graced by the Ambassador of France, Her Excellency Mrs. Aline Muster and Conservation Secretary Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Mr. Gideon Gathaara and Chief Conservator of Forests, Julius Kamau. https://www.standardmedia.co.ke 20 Jun 2019  

    South Korean Designers Develop Surface Color Changing Furniture DETAY
    South Korean ...

    Designers at Orijeen, a South Korean design company, developed furniture that could change surface color. Furniture with a lenticular surface reflects different colors according to the user's viewing angle. Reflections produce different colors according to the reflection of light to furniture. The small book-shaped furniture shines with the colors of fuchsia, lilac and sky blue. The large wardrobe reflects the shades of turquoise blue, mint green and sunlight yellow. Let's watch these colorful designs alive…         With the title color changing furniture in our video gallery 

    Trade War, Property Slowdown Hammer Chinas Furniture Stocks DETAY
    Trade War, Property ...

      Trade War, Property Slowdown Hammer China's Furniture Stocks More (Bloomberg) -- While Chinese furniture shares are looking cheap, uncertainties over China’s ties with the U.S. and the outlook for the domestic property market are keeping investors away. Major listed manufacturers such as Jason Furniture Hangzhou Co. and Yihua Lifestyle Technology Co. have seen an average of about 40% decline in their stock prices over the past year. The export-oriented sector suffered another round of sell-offs recently amid escalating tensions between the world’s two largest economies. Jason Furniture, a major Chinese listed furniture maker and a favorite of foreign investors, is trading at its lowest earnings multiple since listing in 2016. As of Thursday’s close, it had fallen 36% from the start of April, more than the roughly 11% decline in the broader market. Foreign investors have pared their holdings in the company to 14% from 22% at the end of 2018. The stock was down 2% in Monday morning trade, against a 0.5% rally in the CSI 300 Index. Still, it’s too early to go bargain-hunting in the highly fragmented sector yet, say some analysts, who cite a slowdown in the domestic property market and recent hikes in U.S. tariffs on 5,700 different product categories from China ranging from vegetables to furniture. “Furniture exporters hold relatively weak bargaining power and their profit margins are already thin," said Xu Linfeng, an analyst at Founder Securities Co. "The trade war should further cut into their profitability." China is the world’s largest consumer and exporter of furniture. Its exports of soft furnishings –– an industry term for items like beds and sofas -- more than doubled over nine years to $12.6 billion in 2017, according to a report by Jason Furniture that cited industry data. About 37% of the country’s soft furnishings products were shipped abroad that year. Many listed furniture firms rely heavily on overseas markets, especially the U.S. Jason Furniture derived 40 percent of its sales from overseas last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Founder Securities’ Xu estimating up to 70 percent of its overseas sales came from the U.S. Other Chinese manufacturers are also heavily dependent on exports. Zoy Home Furnishing Co. exported nearly all of its products in 2017, while Yihua relied on overseas markets for three-quarters of its sales. Yotrio Group Co. booked 87% of its revenue from overseas in 2017, and nearly 47% of its total sales came from North America. To dodge higher U.S. tariffs, some firms like Jason Furniture and Xilinmen Furniture Co. have started to build plants abroad. Jason is "preparing to build factories overseas in reaction to the trade war between China and the U.S.," the company said in its annual report in April. Xilinmen is constructing a facility in Thailand for exports. A slowdown in China’s property market following years of breakneck growth doesn’t bode well for furniture companies either, at least for the short term. Home-building activity in China may decline this year for the first time in more than two decades as developers saddled with debt they’re struggling to service dial back construction, according to a report released last month by state-run think tank Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. "Furniture stocks are heavily related to real estate cycles," said Fu Gang, fund manager at River East Asset Management Advisory Ltd. "Investors are skeptical about the outlook for property sales so they are also unsure about the growth potential of the industry." Still, Founder Securities’ Xu says he’s upbeat about sector leaders such as Jason Furniture over the long term as the trade war with the U.S. should drive consolidation of the bigger companies. Bloomberg News Jun 10

    New York Passes Furniture Stability Law DETAY
    New York Passes ...

    Harper's Law prohibits New York retailers from selling bedroom furniture that fails to comply with the voluntary furniture stability standard. The New York State Assembly passed “Harper’s Law” on Thursday, May 30 – legislation that prohibits retailers in the state from selling clothing storage furniture that does not comply with the current voluntary furniture stability standard, unless the retailer provides a tip restraint and consumer warning for the non-compliant furniture. If signed by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, retailers will have 90 days to comply. Harper’s Law requires all new clothing storage furniture sold in retail stores or online to New York consumers to comply with stability standards set by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) or, in the absence of a mandatory federal standard, with the ASTM International voluntary furniture stability standard. Presently, there is no mandatory federal standard. The current version of the ASTM voluntary standard is F2057-17. “While we support the purpose of Harper’s Law – which is to require compliance with the stability requirements of ASTM F2057-17 – the American Home Furnishings Alliance favors a mandatory federal standard and has called on the CPSC to develop one based on ASTM F2057-17. Without it, we are likely to see a patchwork of state regulations, resulting in confusion for manufacturers, retailers and consumers alike,” said Andy Counts, CEO of the AHFA. Harper’s Law applies to freestanding clothing storage furniture 27 inches or taller, “including but not limited to chests, dressers, armoires and bureaus.” Since ASTM F2057-17 applies only to clothing storage furniture over 30 inches in height, New York legislators included a provision in their law to cover products between 27 and 30 inches that, currently, are outside the scope of the voluntary standard. Retailers may sell clothing storage furniture that does not comply with F2057-17 – such as units between 27 and 30 inches – but only if they include a tip restraint with the product and apply a permanent warning label on each piece. The legislation does not include the language for the prescribed warning label. Alternatively, the retailer can sell tip restraints separately for the non-compliant furniture, as long as they keep those tip restraints in stock and prominently display them in the store. Further, if they choose this option, they also must post a warning notice in the store in lieu of the on-product warning label. The notice must be “in a conspicuous location” in the store, and it must state: “Certain furniture may become unstable and tip over, leading to possible injury or death. Tip restraint devices may prevent tipping of furniture when properly installed.” The ASTM Subcommittee on Furniture Safety currently is voting on an to F2057-17 that would expand the scope of the voluntary standard to include clothing storage furniture 27 to 30 inches. A decision is anticipated at the end of June. To help retailers identify compliant manufacturing partners, AHFA developed a “WE COMPLY” tent card that its member companies display in their showrooms during Las Vegas and High Point furniture markets. It indicates that the company’s clothing storage furniture is manufactured to meet all stability requirements within the ASTM standard. Retailers are urged to look for the cards and to source bedroom furniture only from companies that can demonstrate compliance. To help consumers find compliant clothing storage furniture, AHFA collaborated with UL on a “Stability Verified” mark. The mark appears in an on-product label and indicates the furniture meets all stability requirements within the current version of ASTM F2057. Any s to the standard immediately become incorporated into the Stability Verified program. Consumers can find participating manufacturers and a list of compliant model numbers at https://verify.ul.com. Harper’s Law is named in memory of Harper Fried, a three-year-old girl from Hudson Valley, NY who died in 2016 while playing in her bedroom. Her parents believe she may have been climbing her dresser when it fell on her. The dresser was purchased new from a retailer who specialized in children’s products. Through the non-profit organization, HarperSmiles Inc., the family has tried to raise awareness about furniture tip-over and other home safety and health hazards. New York State Assembly, Harper’s Law, Andrew Cuomo, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, American Home Furnishings Alliance, Andy Counts, furniture safety, Las Vegas Market, High Point Market, Harper Fried, HarperSmiles Inc. 06/05/2019

    Government urged to abolish taxes on import of wood, timber DETAY
    Government urged to ...

    All Pakistan Timber Traders Association (APTTA) chairman Sharjil Goplani has urged the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government to completely abolish import duty, sales tax and other taxes on the import of Wood & Timber to protect the commercial activities in Pakistan. The importers claimed that because of the higher customs duty, sales tax and withholding tax on Wood and Timber (HS Code 44.03 & 44.07) along with heavy devaluation, the commercial activities have gone down and it is the time for PTI government for taking necessary measures to protect this industry and environment. APTTA chairman Sharjil Goplani said the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) is receiving 32-34 percent Customs Duty, Sales Tax and Withholding Tax and up to 42 percent on the import of Wood & Timber is a raw material and urged the government to remove it completely. "We can more than hypothetically assume that the shortfall in respect of revenue will be offset by the increased business activities, which will also many jobs in Pakistan," Sharjil said adding that the Wood & Timber is raw material and basic need of many other industries. He further highlighted that China is importing Wood & Timber from all over the world including US, Canada, Africa etc and exports to US, Canada, European countries, Middle East and North African countries after producing value added goods from the raw material which give tremendous boost to their wood products export. APTTA chairman said if the government allows duty-free import of wood, it will not only boost construction industry but lead to the promotion of many downstream industries by creating a healthy business environment in Pakistan. It is regrettable that the forest reserves in Pakistan according to FAO report 2015 is 1.9 percent that is almost zero compared to other countries. The most of countries, where the forest percentage is below 25 percent, do not allow harvesting and start plantations to boost forest reserves. Pakistan has almost 1029 known species of all animals, while 3.5 of these are endemic (which exist in no other country) and such animals and other species are living in forests. Pakistani forests have already depleted and causing climate change and melting glaciers in Pakistan. Pakistan is also facing acute shortage of Wood & Timber owing to the lack of forest and APTTA chief appealed to take measures for the protection of forest reserves. He said the countries like Finland, Sweden, Germany, France, Austria, USA, and Canada have proper replantation policies for example when they harvest or cut one tree, they plant two trees.-PR https://fp.brecorder.com   jun 2019

    Milan Furniture Fair: Design, Innovatıon and Creativity DETAY
    Milan Furniture ...

    The 58th edition of international Milan Furniture Fair just ended. What is its history and its ancillary events? The last edition of the Milan Furniture Fair just ended with a great attendance overall. Data show that more than 380,000 visitors from 181 different countries attended across 6 days, which is a 12 percent increase compared to 2017. “This edition of the Milan Furniture Fair is ending with a very positive balance,” commented the President of the Fair, Claudio Luti. “We have invested in quality and we have once again demonstrated our desire to do even better, working closely with designers, artisans, communication and culture operators to keep making and innovating the products, and to tell stories that increase the value of the designed objects.” History of the Fair First launched in 1961, the Milan Furniture Fair was originally conceived as a response to the need of furnishing all the houses built after the war. Along the lines of the Koelnmesse of Cologne – a historic furniture exposition which reopened the previous year – the Milan version of the Fair was originally focused on Italian manufacturers, enhancing the many small industries distributed across the country. The success of the first edition is thanks to a group of Italian entrepreneurs who, after returning from the German event, decided to reproduce it in Italy by creating a committee and organizing the exhibition. During the first edition, 800 foreign visitors came to Milan and after a few years the Fair became international, gradually replacing the Koelnmesse. The organization Today, the Milan Furniture Fair is considered the most important exhibition concerning furnishing, with almost 2,500 stands every year. This event is attended by manufacturers of home furniture, coating material, household appliances, as well as by designers and new technology experts. Each category is housed in different pavilions, divided among kitchen furniture, bathroom, lighting, classic furnishing and contemporary design. Besides these, the SaloneSatellite is dedicated to emergent and innovative designers. At the same time as the Fair, every corner of Milan is full of different temporary installations united under the name Fuorisalone. The Fuorisalone across the city This ancillary event is not under the same organization as the Furniture fair. On the contrary, it was spontaneously launched in the early 80s by the fashion and design industry. Year after year, the Fuorisalone has become a real attraction for visitors, who in some cases prefer seeing the installations across the city than those in the single location of the Fair. Indeed, this is a unique occasion to visit some beautiful locations usually closed to the public as well as an excuse to discover different neighbourhoods of the city. Especially in the Brera, Tortona and Lambrate neighborhoods, there are many showrooms and unused industrial buildings that every year house interesting and particular expositions. Design and sustainability One of the most relevant and interesting themes of this year’s Fuorisalone is sustainability. To mention only a few, Timberland d a huge robot made of plastic bottles and placed it in a central square in the Brera neighborhood; the Polestar‘s installation, called “Into the Light”, reflected the positive power of electric energy instead of fuel; the Iris Ceramica Gorup organized a sensory pattern with their materials to raise awareness about the future of our planet. Given that this is the largest trade fair of its kind, the Milan Furniture Fair is a unique opportunity not only to see such a wide array of styles of furniture and furnishings, but also to meet up-and-coming designers and see where the trends are heading.   https://italicsmag.com/     Cecilia LAZZARESCHİ

    Furniture store sales rebound with 1.1 increase in March DETAY
    Furniture store ...

    Furniture and home furnishings store sales rebounded in March, but continued to lag the gains of the broad retail sector. Sales in the home furnishings store category increased 1.1% to $10.18 billion, from a revised $10.07 billion for March a year ago, according the latest report by the U.S. Department of Commerce. The increase followed three consecutive months of declines for the furniture store sector. March furniture and home furnishings store sales were up 1.7% from February sales, which were revised up to a preliminary $10.01 billion from the previous $9.82 billion estimate. March sales for all U.S. retail and food services industries increased 3.6% from a year ago to $514.1 billion, and were up 1.6% from February. Retail trade sales increased 3.5% from March a year ago and 1.7% from the previous month. While furniture stores trailed the broad sector, a few subsectors did worse, including four that posted negative numbers. Sales for sporting goods, hobby, musical instrument and book stores once again posted the biggest year-over-year decline, down 9.7% from March 2018. Department stores, a subcategory of general merchandise stores, saw the next largest decline, down 3.7%, while electronics and appliances stores posted a 2.7% decrease. Non-store retailers, which include e-commerce and mail order catalog businesses, saw the biggest increase in sales, up 11.6% from March a year ago. For the first quarter of 2019, furniture and home furnishings store sales were flat with the first quarter of last year, according to the report. Total retail and food services sales increased 2.9%, and retail sales were up 2.7%. Non-store retailers posted the greatest year-over-year increase for the quarter, up 11.2%.      

    Harolds Furniture closing after 73 years of history in Lebanon DETAY
    Harolds Furniture ...

    Harold’s Furniture closing after 73 years of history in Lebanon After 73 years, Harold's Furniture of Lebanon is closing its doors at an unspecified date. (Photo: Andrew Kulp) Lebanon’s oldest and largest furniture store is going out of business. After 73 years, Harold’s Furniture at 2500 Cumberland St. is closing its doors for good. A final date has not been set, but all merchandise on the floor must go and is on sale for 50 to 80 percent off original prices. Stuart Perlmutter, president of Harold’s Furniture, says the property has been sold to a car dealership. Why Harold’s Furniture is closing In the span of one hour on a Thursday afternoon, Perlmutter helped carry and load a table in a couple’s vehicle, consoled a friendly woman who heard the store was closing and struck up a conversation with a fellow Army veteran. It should come as no surprise Harold’s was named retailer of the year for 2013 by the Tri-State Home Furnishings Association, and was recognized as one of the top stores in the country as recently as 2018 by “Furniture Today.” So it was also difficult to get a sense of why Harold’s is closing. Even Perlmutter didn’t share a clear answer, falling back on, “It’s time.” “People say to me, “Are you retiring,’” Perlmutter said. “I always say, ‘I don’t know.’ They say, ‘Well did you sell the building?’ Yeah. ‘Are you closing the store?’ I go, ‘Yeah.’ “‘That means you’re retiring.’” With the store closing, Perlmutter expects to have more time for various hobbies, such as collecting and selling model trains. A Lebanon institution Photos of the original downtown Lebanon locations for Harold's Furniture, which will close its doors after 73 years in business. (Photo: Andrew Kulp)   Perlmutter’s father, Harold Perlmutter, opened Harold’s Furniture – originally Harold’s Home Furnishings – in 1946. A World War II veteran fresh off his discharge in Fort Indiantown Gap, Harold was initially denied a downtown Lebanon storefront by a local property owner. “He looks at my dad and goes, ‘Young man, you’re not getting this store,’” said Stuart Perlmutter. “So my father found the guy and showed him a commendation letter he got from his commanding officer in France on what a good job he did. The guy read it and said, ‘You’ve got the store.’” Harold’s eventually purchased the building where an Aaron’s rent-to-own retailer stands today and remained there until 1979. Then it moved across the street to 618 Cumberland St., now home to Pennsylvania Counseling Services, but a space the store inhabited for 25 years. By the time Harold’s moved to its final location outside the city, it was the longest-serving store downtown. Heartfelt goodbyes Heather Rocker (left) and Stuart Perlmutter, president of Harold's Furniture, carry a table out to a customer's vehicle. (Photo: Andrew Kulp)   A Lebanon High School graduate, Stuart Perlmutter got out of the Army in 1973 and worked as a reporter for a short time in the Philadelphia suburbs, where he met his wife, Louise. They returned to the area in ’75 and, having grown up in the business, he went to work at Harold’s full time. “Every day, four or five people come in just to wish me well,” said Perlmutter. “It’s really heartening. And they called about my dad and they talk about all the furniture they bought from us.” “I just say thank you to all the customers. My father would say the same thing.” Perlmutter’s wife, Louise, also penned a handwritten letter to customers. Dear Lebanon customers, Thank you so much for your years of customer appreciation. Stu just loves telling me about the customers coming into the store to say ‘thank you.’ You have meant the most to his time in Lebanon. Remember he is born in Lebanon and a dedicated lover of this town. We wish all of you luck and happy times. Andrew Kulp, Lebanon Daily NewsPublished 8:18 p.m. ET April 25

    Croatian smart furniture startup Include raises over €1 million in just over 24 hours on Funderbam SEE DETAY
    Croatian smart ...

    Croatian smart furniture startup Include raises over €1 million in just over 24 hours on Funderbam SEE Zagreb-based smart street furniture startup Include has just raised €1 million of investment and reached the first milestone in their second crowdfunding campaign on the blockchain-based Funderbeam SEE platform. The second campaign was launched at an event just yesterday at the Zagreb Stock Exchange, which makes Include the most successful fundraiser on the Funderbeam SEE platform in terms of both amount and quick investor response, with 151 investors from 15 countries joining in the first 24 hours. Founder Ivan Mrvoš was recently listed as one of the Forbes’ Magazine ”30 under 30 entrepreneurs” in Europe in the Manufacturing & Industry category, Deloitte’s ”Technology Fast 50 Central Europe” Award, and was nominated for the MIT Technology Review’s Innovators Under 35 Europe 2018 Award, as well as numerous other awards since starting the company in 2014. ”We’ve been growing steadily since the launch of the company,” said Mrvoš. “Last year was profitable, and we’ve already doubled our revenue in the first quarter of 2019, compared to the same quarter of 2018. We’re extremely excited to see the amount of trust our investors have in our product and the team behind the development, production and marketing of our smart street furniture. We aim to continue creating amazing interactive technological products for public spaces, as we believe that citizens should have access to the full potential of smart urban technologies for both personal and economic growth.” Include sells its Steora smart benches and Monna smart cycling points in 43 global markets on five continents and 260 cities, with more than 1,000 installed products and cooperation with large global corporations including Deutsche Telekom, Coca Cola, Red Bull, British Petroleum, Nokia, Kia. The capital from the new round of investment is planned to be allocated for improving development and testing capabilities, enlargement of the in R&D team, purchases of SMD component assembly equipment, weather simulation chamber, development of new complimentary products, increase of production capacities, purchase and testing of raw materials, sales and marketing activities. The company, which began its journey out of a garage in 2014, now employs more than 30 professionals in R&D, sales, marketing, finance, production, and procurement departments. From the initial version of the bench, which supported mobile device charging, its sales portfolio has grown to 11 high-quality products in two product lines, Steora smart benches and Monna smart cycling points, with ten additional features that can be optionally integrated into existing products. https://www.eu-startups.com   By  Mary Loritz    April 25, 2019

    Stylish foreign furniture invades Nepali homes DETAY
    Stylish foreign ...

    Imports of wooden furniture between mid-July and mid-April soared 45 percent year-on-year, a trend traders attributed to Nepali buyers turning to foreign products for their elegant looks and fine workmanship.   According to the Department of Customs, the country imported wooden furniture worth Rs902.3 million in the first nine months of 2018-19, up from Rs620.3 million during the same period of the last fiscal year. China, India, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Thailand and Turkey are the main source countries for furniture sold in the Nepali market. Traders said lifestyle choices and ergonomic furniture from foreign manufacturers led to the steep rise in demand.   Kavindra Joshi, general secretary of the Federation of Furniture and Furnishing Entrepreneurs’ Association, said demand for imported furniture had increased with expanding urbanisation. “Imported furniture fulfils around 60 percent of the requirement,” said Joshi.   Joshi said people people looking for luxury products choose imported furniture. The prestige attached to foreign products is also driving up sales, he added. According to him, many people with body aches choose imported furniture for comfort.     Sambidha Shakya of Kalanki, an employee in a finance company, said the elegant looks of imported furniture an attractive ambience in the home. As per the association, the wooden furniture market in the country is worth Rs40 billion annually.   Traders said a shortage of raw materials and skilled manpower was one of the reasons for low domestic supply and consequent rise in imports.   A rapid rise in the number of corporate houses and hotels and restaurants and growing sales of apartments and housing units have also helped increase demand for imported furniture. Akhil Chapagain, chairman of Akhil Trading Concern, the authorised distributor for Istikball Furniture, Turkey and Hatil Furniture, Bangladesh, said their sales of imported furniture   had more than doubled in the last one year.  Chapagain said he was planning to open showrooms in other major cities of the country due to the large number of potential buyers outside the Kathmandu Valley.   According to him, rocking chairs, shoe racks and dining tables are among the fastest selling items. Prices start at Rs20,000.Avinash Tamrakar, business development manager at Index Furniture, said customers mostly look for finishing and durability while purchasing furniture. Index Furniture sells furniture imported from Thailand and has a monthly turnover of more than Rs10 million. According to Tamrakar, sofa sets, beds and wardrobes are their best selling products. Prices range between Rs40,000 and Rs300,000, he added. KRISHANA PRASAIN, Kathmandupost

    Furniture industry reacts to new tariff reality DETAY
    Furniture industry ...

    WASHINGTON – Furniture manufacturers and retailers woke this morning to the reality of 25% tariffs on some $200 billion Chinese imports, including furniture and key components, accelerating the quest for natives that has been underway since an initial round of 10% tariffs were imposed last fall. This effort has seen a large number of companies announce plans for manufacturing and warehouse facilities in Vietnam, with Malaysia, Mexico, India and Indonesia also emerging as potential natives. However, even the most optimistic assessments have described these as longer term solutions, a prospect that was wiped out by the speed with which the current tariff situation emerged. As little as a week ago, expectations were high that a deal between China and the U.S. would be reached, negating the potential for higher tariff rates. However, since that time negotiations appear to have moved backward, and last Sunday President Trump tweeted the intention to impose the 25% tariffs that five days later became a reality. We, like everyone else, were hoping this wouldn’t happen. Obviously, we thought this was a future thing for the past several months and are somewhat surprised by the speed at which this most recent change happened,” said Randy Spak, president of American Furniture Manufacturing. “In the short term, we’re going to analyze our supply of kits on most SKUs and talk to our suppliers to see if there is any opportunity for offsets before we determine the next steps. Spak “In the longer term, if the 25% tariffs were to remain in place, say for six months or a year, we would need to explore native sourcing.” Case goods and upholstery resource Caracole said that it is looking to implement what it calls a temporary price increase/surcharge on Chinese-made goods from an original 3% to 10%, effective June 1. But it also is hopeful that the two countries can reach a compromise on the issue before then. Jeff Young “In spite of this latest tariff increase, our management team remains wholly optimistic that the two parties will soon be able to agree to a mutually beneficial compromise on the key trade issues facing both countries today,” said Jeff Young, chairman of Caracole International. “In fact, while we are fully cognizant of the retail impact on all goods subject to this increase, we do feel that these additional tariffs will actually serve to facilitate a more rapid conclusion to the current obstacles affecting trade between China and the U.S.” Andy Stein, CEO of accent and dining furniture resource Coast to Coast Imports, said that the company is looking at implementing a 5% increase on Chinese-made goods, which represent from 30% to 40% of volume. But as of Friday morning, it hadn’t made a decision yet. Up to this point the company has been eating most of the 10% tariff that went into effect last September, with factories covering perhaps a couple of points. But he said the factories can’t absorb more than that. “It’s definitely a problem,” he said of the increase. That said, Stein still believes China product represents a great value, particularly in terms of its ability to deliver quality goods in a timely fashion. Five percent is not the end of the world,” Stein said of the increase the company is considering. “It may sound like the end of the world, but it’s not.” A five percent increase, for example, would push the wholesale price of an item from $149 to about $157 and a $199 item to about $209. “You are talking $10, which is $20 at retail,” Stein noted. Jamie Collins Jamie Collins, executive vice president of case goods and upholstery importer Homelegance, said the company has already been preparing for the increase and has implemented whatever steps it could. “However, replacing upholstered and l products is a challenge because so much of the production of those items still resides in China,” Collins. “Other source countries like Vietnam and Malaysia will face labor shortages, longer lead times and price increases. Overall, the price increases and long lead times we face are not good for our retailers or the consumer. I am hopeful the 25% rate is temporary, but we continue to work towards the best possible options to replace our China production.” Other manufacturers noted that the speed with which the trade negotiations reversed themselves resulting in a very short notice tariff increase and providing them with few levers to pull in the effort to avoid potential price increases. Which goods are subject? There also appears to be some near-term confusion over the extent to which goods on the water will be subject to the price increase. A directive from U.S. Customs and Border Protection indicated that “for subject goods entered for consumption or withdrawn from warehouse for consumption on or after 12.01am eastern standard time on May 10, 2019, the 10% duty will still apply.” However, the law firm of Mowry Grimson has subsequently issued an advisory stating “Although the government has confirmed to us that the higher 25% duties are not intended to apply to goods that were ‘exported’ to the United States before May 10, 2019, we are hearing from Custom and Border Protection (CBP) that its internal system will impose the 25% duties as of 12:01 a.m. on Friday. In other words, CBP tells us that its system is already triggered to begin collecting the higher duties, and even CBP itself has no way to correct this error at the current time. “CBP has advised us that it suggests trying to delay making entry as long as possible to give the government a way to change its system to maintain the 10% duty for goods exported prior to May 10. As of now, CBP tells us that when importers enter List 3 goods that were exported prior to May 10, they will be compelled to pay the 25% tariffs. CBP has suggested to us that the remedy for importers would be to file a post summary correction to try to obtain a refund of the excess 15% duties once the government has implemented a fix to the current problem. All government agencies have confirmed to us that the 25% tariffs will ultimately only apply to List 3 products exported on or after May 10. As you can see, however, in the interim there is a delay in implementation of the correct collection of the tariffs by the government.” Retailers react Jake Jabs Retailers reached by Furniture Today at this writing appear prepared to adapt to the changing situation. Jake Jabs, CEO of Englewood, Colo.-based American Furniture Warehouse, said, “They kicked the can down the road for another 30 days” since the tariffs don’t apply to any goods already on the water. He said he’s not hopeful any settlement will ever be reached with China and believes production eventually will go to the countries that can build it the cheapest. But suppliers need not worry about AFW’s commitments even it includes the tariff increase. “We’re not going to cancel orders,” Jabs said, adding that this is one of the reasons his company is able to get better prices, along with its promise of no chargeback or returns to vendors. We’ll just figure it out,” he said. “We might have to work on a shorter margin on some of that stuff for a while. But we respect factories and our relationship with them. “It will be a little glitch. We might not make quite as much money for a few months, but long-term, if they stay in effect, the production will move somewhere else,” the same way bedroom moved to Vietnam after the United States imposed steep duties on Chinese imports more than 10 years ago. Before the duties, AFW was sourcing 22 bedrooms groups from China. “Today, we buy zero bedroom sets out of China,” Jabs said. Indeed the Chinese goods AFW sources these days are primarily smaller, inexpensive doorbuster items, such as jewelry armoires and chests. The previous 10% tariff didn’t do much damage to the price or business as manufacturers and a devalued Chinese currency ate up the bulk of the increase, he said. Jabs doesn’t expect much of an impact from 25% tariff on these kinds of items either for some of the same reasons. But 25% on the $300 sofa is another matter. That will make U.S. production more competitive, he said, while what is currently produced in China gradually moves to other lower-cost countries. Jeff Seaman Jeff Seaman, CEO of Seffner, Fla., based Rooms To Go said he was a bit surprised by the move, and believed a deal would have been struck before the 25% rate took effect. “In the short run, it’s extremely disruptive if there is no resolution by the time the goods arrive,” he said. But by that, Seaman means disruptive to the overall Chinese supply chain — and primarily the upholstery category since most case goods already have move out of the county. For the product RTG still buys from China, part of the previous 10% tariff was absorbed by manufacturers, some by RTG, and some was passed on in the form of a price increases. If the new 25% rate stays in place, Seaman believes Chinese production will definitely move because “It’s too risky for (manufacturers) to stay there.” But for RTG, “we take it as it comes,” he said. “There’s really no disruption. We just buy what we need. … We’re always surveying the field, looking for the right value no matter where it is.” The tariff increase, should it stick, may necessitate some near-term changes to the RTG’s promotions for the summer, but even there, Seaman said, there’s still time to wait and see before making any needed adjustments. Furniture Today May 10, 2019

    Ekspor Mebel dan Olahan Kayu di Jawa Tengah Melambat DETAY
    Ekspor Mebel dan ...

    Bank Indonesia mencatat pada triwulan I/2019, ekspor luar negeri di Jawa Tengah tumbuh 3,45% (yoy), lebih rendah dibanding pertumbuhan triwulan sebelumnya 7,12% (yoy). Kepala Grup Advisory dan Pengembangan Ekonomi BI Jateng Rahmat Dwi Saputra mengatakan, berdasarkan komoditas, pertumbuhan ekspor yang melambat berasal dari komoditas mebel dan kayu olahan, barang dari karet, bahan kimia, serta produk plastik.   Sedangkan komoditas ekspor unggulan Jawa Tengah lainnya berupa tekstil dan produk tekstil serta alas kaki tumbuh lebih tinggi pada triwulan I/2019. "Dengan perlambatan ini, kontribusi ekspor luar negeri terhadap pertumbuhan ekonomi Jawa Tengah mengalami penurunan," kata Rahmat melalui keterangan resminya Rabu (8/5/2019).   Selanjutnya, impor luar negeri Jawa Tengah juga menunjukkan perlambatan, yaitu dari 21,73% (yoy) pada triwulan IV 2018 menjadi 6,12% (yoy) pada triwulan I 2019. Menurutnya, dari rilis data ekspor impor Badan Pusat Statistik (BPS), perlambatan impor ini utamanya disebabkan kontraksi pada impor migas, sedangkan impor komoditas nonmigas masih tercatat tumbuh positif meski melambat. Penurunan impor migas di triwulan I ditengarai dipengaruhi oleh kebijakan pembatasan impor yang dimulai sejak akhir tahun 2018, dalam rangka upaya perbaikan current account deficit. Sementara itu lanjut dia, perlambatan impor nonmigas tercatat di beberapa komoditas seperti makanan dan minuman, produk kimia, serta tekstil dan produk tekstil. "Berdasarkan penggunaan, selama beberapa tahun terakhir struktur impor Jawa Tengah didominasi oleh impor bahan baku dengan pangsa lebih dari 50%, diikuti impor barang modal," ujarnya. Dia menjelaskan, triwulan l 2019, impor bahan baku dan impor barang konsumsi tercatat kontraksi, sementara impor barang modal masih tumbuh positif meskipun melambat. Sebagai komponen pengurang PDRB, perlambatan impor luar negeri berpengaruh positif terhadap laju pertumbuhan ekonomi Jawa Tengah. Kendati demikian, penurunan impor komoditas migas berdampak pada kegiatan industri yang memberikan nilai tambah lebih besar. Lebih Ianjut, hal tersebut juga menahan kinerja ekspor antardaerah, yang tercermin dari turunnya jumlah muat komoditas migas dari pelabuhan - pelabuhan di Jawa Tengah. Sedangkan untuk, permintaan domestik terpantau masih cukup kuat, tercermin dari pertumbuhan komponen konsumsi rumah tangga, Iembaga nonprofit yang melayani rumah tangga (LNPRT), dan konsumsi pemerintah. "Pada triwulan I 2019, konsumsi rumah tangga terpantau tumbuh 4,79% (yoy), meningkat dari triwulan sebelumnya (4,71%; yoy). Peningkatan ini seiring dengan terkendalinya inflasi sehingga ekspektasi daya beli masyarakat tetap terjaga," katanya. (k28) semarang.bisnis.com   Alif Nazzala Rizqi    8 May 2019