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Kitchen Furniture Market to grow with style in 2010

The kitchen furniture market lost £250 million worth of sales during the recession, according to a new report from MTW Research, though the kitchen industry is optimistic for 2010 as growth in demand starts to return.

With the cost of the recession running to around £10 million per month in the kitchen furniture market, the recent trading environment for kitchen manufacturers and retailers has clearly been difficult. Based on industry sales figures, MTW's report points to the market having declined by 18% in 'real terms' since the start of the economic downturn.

The report identifies changes in product share in the last year and how these sectors are likely to perform in the future, with prospects reasonably positive for a return to growth for freestanding kitchen units in 2010, whilst the sinks market is diverging into 3 relatively distinct sectors.

A shift in consumer demand patterns has also provided further complexities for kitchen suppliers, as design trends and consumer preferences have changed fairly rapidly in the last 12-18 months. Senior analyst at MTW, Mark Waddy describes, "A growing preference toward flecked greens and browns in the kitchen worktops market, as well as bold colour statements in moderation for fitted kitchen furniture. Clean lines continue to remain popular for hygiene and style reasons, though hard angles are giving way to subtle curves as consumers seek to soften their environment."

The report also discusses the rapid polarisation in terms of quality, styles and designs which have taken place in recent months, with manufacturers and retailers now offering ranges with very clear and distinct market positions. It appears that the recession has prompted kitchen suppliers to re-evaluate and focus their market position in order to maintain a competitive advantage, as well as bring about a host of streamlining and efficiency savings through the kitchen industry.

Independent retailers continue to maintain the majority share of the kitchen furniture market and with this channel now having a more focused approach, MTW suggests that the sector is unlikely to lose any further substantial share in the long term. The DIY multiples, historically having gained share from independent retailers, are now themselves under threat from alternative channels such as Tesco direct, who recently launched their installation service and the final component in their 'one-stop kitchen shop'. It appears that, rather than gain further share from other channels, the sheds are now likely to be more preoccupied fighting a rear guard action and seeking to protect their market share.

The inevitable pressure on prices in the kitchen furniture market brought about by the recession is also highlighted in MTW's report, with imports rising by almost 140% between 2004 and 2009, reflecting the ongoing pressure on the UK manufacturers.

However, there is greater optimism on the horizon as the report forecasts import levels to rise more slowly in the medium to longer term, with exports perhaps offering some growing opportunities for UK kitchen furniture manufacturers to exploit.

The report provides a comprehensive review of the UK domestic kitchen furniture market and forecasts sales to 2014, with current and forecast product mix and distribution channel shares, alongside profiles of more than 300 retailers and manufacturers. The 350+ page report is available to purchase from £565:

T: 08456 524324
E: sales@marketresearchreports.co.uk
W: www.marketresearchreports.co.uk (where a free sample is also available to download)

12th February 2010

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