Price-conscious Romanians spent EUR 758 million on furniture in 2012, down 2.3 percent on the previous year. As retailers see almost no prospect of improvement on the table for the local market, judging by first quarter results, manufacturers expect growth to come mainly from external markets.
Local furniture manufacturers have had a good start to the year, with production increasing by 11 percent in the first quarter of 2013 y-o-y, Aurica Sereny, president of the Romanian Furniture Manufacturers Association (APMR), told BR. Overall she predicts that the industry will post “slightly better results” this year but stresses that any growth will come from exports as the internal market shows no sign of recovery.
The numbers confirm this. Furniture exports increased by 14.8 percent in the first two months of 2013 and are forecast to grow by an overall 13.2 percent by year end. However, internal consumption dropped 10.8 percent in the first two months and Sereny says it is hard to forecast how it will fare through to year end. Players on the market agree.
…Another important player, Lemet, thinks the market will most likely stagnate or in the best case scenario post a single-digit growth rate this year, Adrian Rizea, the company’s commercial director, told BR.
Lemet, which owns the LEMS retail brand, says the average sum a customer spent in its stores in 2012 was RON 3,000 (approximately EUR 674) and this remained constant in the first quarter of 2013. In order to boost sales this year, the company has plans to open 15 new stores throughout 2013, out of which five have already begun trading, and to launch new products. Expanding locally is the company’s focus, rather than exports, says Rizea. Lemet reported a turnover of RON 210 million (approximately EUR 47 million) last year, up by more than 20 percent y-o-y, and says that based on first quarter results it will end 2013 with a similar growth rate.