Furniture makers in the Czech Republic have reasons to be cheerful. According to figures just released by the Czech Statistics Office and quoted by the business daily E15, the industry saw a 13-percent increase in revenues last year – the healthiest growth it has experienced for a decade and a half.
The increase in sales was driven by exports. Indeed, domestic sales fell last year. The secretary of the Association of Czech Furniture Makers, Tomáš Lukeš, told the newspaper that this was because local consumers prefer cheap imported good while higher quality Czech-made items are popular with consumers in Western European states.
Indeed, producers’ revenues from exports saw an uptick of almost a third in 2014, which placed the furniture industry alongside the thriving automobile sector in terms of growth in export sales.
The furniture sector can also boast a very healthy net balance from the Czech point of view, with exports amounting to CZK 5.9 billion more than imports last year.
According to the statistics, exports of metal furniture, medical furniture and seating were especially strong, Tomáš Lukeš told E15.
Movables with relatively high added value that cannot easily be produced just anywhere – such as office chairs, sophisticated hospital beds and high-end upholstered furniture – have in particular done well, Mr. Lukeš added.
A representative of the classic Czech furniture brand Ton confirmed the buoyant mood in the industry, telling E15 that this year Czech firms were finding it hard to secure stands at a prestigious furniture trade fair in Italy’s Milan as the country’s allotted spaces had already been snapped up.
Ton itself can boast some big name customers. Last year the company from the Moravian town of Bystřice pod Hostýnem delivered its chairs to Starbucks branches around the United States, a Samsung medical centre in South Korea’s Seoul and the American hotel chain Marriot.
Another local firm that enjoyed a prosperous 2014 was Intedoor, which produces bathroom furniture. The family-owned company from North Bohemia signed a landmark deal with Germany’s MHK Group that means its products are now available at 600 new outlets in the country.
However, traditional market Poland remained the most frequent destination for Czech-made furniture, with total exports to the Czech Republic’s north-eastern neighbour reaching CZK 2.2 billion.
However, it is not all good news in this regard. The total for last year was still below that recorded before the economic crisis. What’s more, the balance of trade with regard to furniture was CZK 1.7 billion in Poland’s favour last year.
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