For furniture manufacturers the outlook for the coming years looks good, according to some of Australia’s leading retailers. Read on for other news including Biesse breaks records in Atlanta; Nick Scali’s exceptional year; Harvey Norman surges; IKEA rolls out more stores; Homag growth continues; Borg offer falls through; Consumers love wood more; Timbermate acquires Agnew’s Water Putty; Weinig acquires 100% of Grecon; Tekform’s Single Wall Drawer; SCM Finalists at W16 in Birmingham.

Biesse breaks records in Atlanta

Biesse announced that IWF 2016, held in Atlanta Georgia in August, was the most successful show to date for the company. Recognising the lean and value-oriented needs of today’s market, Biesse showcased over 2,000 m2 of machinery focused on flexibility, productivity, and lowering operating costs, demonstrating how anyone can seize the rich opportunities offered by the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

“IWF 2016 exceeded our expectations and was once again a record breaking show for Biesse America and Biesse Canada,” said Federico Broccoli, Biesse Group Subsidiaries Division Director and President/CEO of Biesse America. “Eighteen million dollars of signed orders received in four days is a tangible sign of the North American market strength and the confidence our customers have in Biesse’s latest technologies.  The North American market now makes up 20% of global sales.

Nick Scali’s exceptional year

CEO of retailer Nick Scali Furniture, Anthony Scali expects the latest Reserve Bank’s interest rate cut and low unemployment will continue to fuel the housing market and drive demand for furniture. He said that: “Profit for the 12 months to June 30 rose 53.1% to $26.15 million and revenue jumped more than 30% to $203 million. In July (the start of 2016/17 year), we had good sales growth again”.

The furniture retailer’s “exceptional” year was partly due to the full-year benefit of seven stores that opened in the second half of the 2015 financial year. NSW and Victoria were the two strongest markets, while the economies in Queensland and WA had taken a hit from the mining downturn. The company expanded into WA in March 2015 and, while Mr Scali admitted it was the worst possible time, he said the group’s four stores in the state had performed surprisingly well. The group now has 42 stores across Australia and plans to open another six this financial year.

Harvey Norman surges

Harvey Norman’s net profit rose 30 % to $348.6 million in the year to June 30, as sales revenue growth for its franchisees in Australia more than doubled from the previous year. The company expects housing conditions in Australia to remain strong and to continue to drive its sales growth with the period of the current financial year already showing strong signs with sales up 6.4% and comparable sales up 6.6% from the same period a year ago. Chairman Gerry Harvey said furniture was selling strongly as low interest rates and population growth help fuel a property boom. “Every three and-a-bit years you get an extra million people in Australia and that doesn’t look like changing.” He added: “Housing activity was likely to remain solid thanks to a strong number of building approvals, particularly in NSW and Victoria.”

IKEA rolls out more Aussie stores

Swedish giant IKEA has flagged the rollout of more stores and an online presence in Australia as it prepares to build one of the country’s biggest furniture distribution centres. A 70,000 m2 supply and logistics centre is planned for Sydney’s west but IKEA will not reveal its plans for further stores in Australia. More are planned to add to the eight existing outlets and the ninth store to be opened in North Lakes (Brisbane) by the end of the year. The IKEA group has 315 stores in 27 countries.

Homag growth continues

The Homag Group has seen its sales revenue grow in the first six months of 2016 by almost 5% to EUR 527 million (prior year: EUR 504 million). CEO Pekka Paasivaara explained: “Thanks to our global footprint, we have been able to compensate for weak markets in the current crisis regions with a favourable development of business in other regions. We did especially well in China and in central and western Europe”. The group expects to close out 2016 with order intake and revenue up slightly within 1,000 and 1,100 million Euros.

Borg offer falls through

The takeover offer for Wangaratta’s Alpine MDF plant has been withdrawn by the Borg Group. The Wangaratta Chronicle reported on 26 August that Alpine had accepted Borg’s bid but a review by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) put the sale on hold. The ACCC had strong concerns that Alpine and Borg were two of only three MDF manufacturing plants in Australia. The Borg Group notified the commission on 17 August that it would not be proceeding with the acquisition. Alpine MDF employs 100 people and was set up in 1996 as Dominance Industries but is now owned by the Japanese Sumitomo Forestry company.

Consumers love wood more

The latest wave of consumer tracking research shows an increase in the number of respondents who prefer wood and also confirms the forest and wood products industry’s reliability as a source of environmental information*. Results showed significant increases in the intentions to use wood, people’s love of wood and positive attitudes towards wood. For example, love of wood has increased from 79% to 85% and the proportion of people who claim they would always/would be likely to choose wood over other materials has also increased from 57% to 62%. *Source Timberbiz.

Timbermate acquires Agnew’s Water Putty

Melbourne-based Timbermate Group has announced the successful acquisition of a long-established rival in the powder filler market, Agnew’s Water Putty. The acquisition of Agnew’s is another milestone for Timbermate, which revolutionised the wood filler industry with the launch of its unique water-based products in 1991. The company now has a wide range of products under the Timbermate and Earl’s labels, all of which are manufactured in Australia using Australian-sourced materials.

Weinig acquires 100% of Grecon

At its meeting of September 16, the supervisory board of Michael Weinig AG made a decision to acquire the outstanding shares in Weinig Grecon GmbH & Co. KG. The technology leader for machines and systems for solid wood processing had already acquired 60%  of the company in 1998.

As a manufacturing subsidiary of Weinig, Alfeld/Leine-based Weinig Grecon GmbH & Co. KG is one of the world’s leading specialists in finger-jointing and jointing technology for all performance categories. With this step now completed, Weinig strengthens its outstanding market position as a complete provider in solid-wood processing and drives forward its brand strategy.

Tekform’s Single Wall Drawer

The Tekform Single Wall Drawer is suitable for kitchen, wardrobe and bathroom drawer applications, featuring smooth and silent operating with a roller slide system and epoxy coating. The European certified Tekform single wall drawer has a lifetime warranty tested to 50,000 cycles. Contact your Titus Tekform representative to experience the easy front fixing, user friendly mounting and precise drawer alignment.

SCM finalists at W16 in Birmingham

Three technologies have been named as finalists in the “Elements of Innovation” award in Birmingham and the winners will be named during the trade show held 2 to 5 October. The SCM finalists are Morbidelli Planet P800, the CNC work centre for drilling, routing and edge banding; Xylent cutter-block and SGP Smart Gluepot, for outstanding finish quality.