July 2, 2020 @ 12:29 by Richard Dawson
North East furniture retailer, Barker and Stonehouse, has launched a new campaign designed to get UK furniture retailers moving again post-lockdown.
The campaign, ‘Let’s Get Going Britain!’, calls for the furniture retail sector to use its collective voice to talk up the value and quality of the UK’s furniture making business.
With support from industry bodies, the British Furniture Manufacturers Association and the British Retail Consortium, the campaign aims to re-energise the furniture retail sector and save jobs.
In 2018, turnover from the sector totalled £11.8 billion, which in turn supported 120,000 jobs across 8489 companies.
James Barker, managing director at Barker and Stonehouse, said: “Britain has a long and fruitful history when it comes to furniture manufacturing and we need to do everything we can to preserve these skills and jobs.
“It is true that some production has moved off-shore, particularly cabinet and leather products. However, there is still a significant raft of furniture that is made in the UK, particularly upholstery, beds and mattresses.
“These producers not only manufacture for high-end retailers but also for many of the well-known high street multiple chains and also for the international export market.
“In the short term we want to enable manufacturers to take staff off furlough and get factories back up to capacity.
“But in the longer term it is about safeguarding the economic sustainability of the industry, by protecting jobs, championing skills and helping consumers to understand the value of spending a little more to buy into excellent British craftsmanship.
“’Made in Britain’ is a stamp of quality that is recognised globally and it’s an asset that must be championed in both the domestic market and further afield.
“This is nothing to do with politics or a small island mentality, it is about rebuilding our economy.”
Nick Garratt, managing director of British Furniture Manufacturers, said: “We are delighted to see Barker and Stonehouse launch this campaign and push the buy British message.
“We need to highlight the importance of the sector to our national economy and the quality and assurance that comes from buying British-made products.”
The campaign kicked off at the start of June to coincide with the re-opening of all Barker and Stonehouse stores and features a series of offers for customers that promotes British brands.