Get me a sofa! Spain sees post-lockdown furniture boom

MADRID (Reuters) - Spain’s furniture manufacturers say they are overwhelmed by demand after sales boomed at the end of lockdown in June, potentially erasing most of the year’s losses.

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Sales of household equipment, including furniture and home appliances, jumped by 9.9% in June, rebounding from three months of losses that included a 59.2% fall in April.

The overall retail sales index, however, fell by 4.7% in June from a year earlier, data from the National Statistics Institute (INE) showed on Wednesday, as the coronavirus lockdown took its toll on the Spanish economy.

Lidia Roza, owner of Casa Nueva, a furniture store in Gijón in northern Spain, said business was buzzing and some customers were having to wait two months, especially for sofas.

“There are no mattresses and sofa beds in warehouses anymore, it’s mission impossible. We call the manufacturers and they tell us they are overstretched,” she said.

Such is demand that a survey by a national association of furniture companies found that they expect to finish this quarter down just around 5% in sales, versus a cumulative loss of 18.5% so far in a year blighted by the pandemic.

“There’s like a boom. Many manufacturers are telling us they are overflowing,” said Vicente Sales, head of market analysis at the Spanish Furniture Observatory (Aidimme).

Though the sector is enjoying a V-shaped recovery, businesses remained cautious, he added, given the uncertain outlook for the economy and for the COVID-19 disease.

Grupo Pikolin, one of the leading mattress manufacturers in Spain, said it saw the same trend in all the European markets to which it exports, including France and Italy.

The company, which had a turnover of around 400 million euros last year, saw the months of June and July exceed its forecasts, with sales growth of 6-8%, a spokeswoman said.

Reporting by Belén Carreño and André Vitor Tavares; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne and Janet Lawrence