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26 Jan 2024

JFS 2024 ends with a 6% rise in visitors and a record-breaking rebook!

JFS 2024 ends with a 6% rise in visitors and a record-breaking rebook!
The January Furniture Show concluded with great success and a record-breaking rebook for the 2025 edition! The NEC Birmingham was abuzz for 4 days of product sourcing, networking, and inspiration with top buyers from across the world coming together at the NEC in Birmingham. This positive atmosphere highlighted the show's significant role in uniting the furniture industry, offering brands, buyers, designers, architects, manufacturers, and distributors the biggest opportunity to procure the newest furniture and home interiors ranges in the UK. 

The 2024 edition of the January Furniture Show closed on a high with not only a 6% rise in visitors but a record breaking rebook for the 2025 edition! A vibrant feel to the show was reflected in the buzz of the halls as top buyers flocked from across the world to the NEC Birmingham with over 25% of these buyers visiting for more than one day. Positivity for the show was evident, signalling the importance of JFS in reuniting the industry and embodying the show’s ethos of ‘building the future of furniture, together.’ With multiple opportunities at the show for networking and an emphasis on connecting with the industry, JFS brought brands, buyers, designers, architects, manufacturers and distributors together in their passion for quality, innovative furniture.   

As the UK’s biggest furniture and home interiors trade show, the industry united for 4 days of product sourcing, networking and inspiration from top brands from across the globe. Peter Harrison, Executive Chairman at Furniture Village, explained why attending JFS is so important for himself and his team as they aim ‘to meet people as there are some terrific suppliers here and to find new products, see trends for colour pallets, finishes - anything that will help us to stay with it.’ While DFS Quality Manager, Kim Sprott, said there was ‘great networking opportunities throughout the show. I’ve seen lots of new brands that we haven't seen before, and JFS is the perfect place to see the new trends for the year.’ Also, Natasha North from Dunelm said that JFS ‘ticked all our boxes and we saw all the brands that we needed to see - mission accomplished.’

Visitors weren’t the only ones who were pleased with the show, exhibitor Nichola Bell, the Sales Director for Alpha Designs, said ‘JFS has been our best ever show, with high sales from very enthusiastic buyers and we've seen a good mix of new and existing customers.’ Siobhan Walsh, the Strategic Planning Director for Scatter Box, said that ‘JFS has been a good show, as we’ve met new, quality customers’ which is evident in the show’s increased VIP attendance. With 83% conversion on VIP visitors, exhibitors had access to some of the top buyers from across the industry, with buying power +£1 million, up 18% since 2023.

Over the show’s four days, JFS saw top buyers attend from Argos, Arthur Llewellyn Jenkins, B&M Retail, Bensons for Beds, British Garden Centres, Daniels Stores, Debenhams, DFS, Dunelm, Fabb Furniture, Fairway Furniture, Fenwick, Furniture Village, Furniture World, FW Homestores, Glasswells, Habitat, Harbour Lifestyle, Homebase, Hopewells, Jarrolds, John Lewis, KEENS Belfast, La Redoute, Laura James, Leekes, Lenleys Home, Marks & Spencers, Morleys, NEXT, Nisbet, Oliver Bonas, Sainsbury’s, SCS,, Sofology, Sterling Furniture, Stokers, Swoon, Taskers, The Cotswold Company, The Very Group, Vale Furnishers, Ulsters Stores, Wayfair and lots more! Across all retailer groups there was a significant growth in attendance in particular: department store attendance up by 18%, distributor attendance up 25%, wholesaler attendance up 16%, interior designers attendance up 8%, and contract buyer attendance up 40%. Plus, JFS proved to be an international affair with visitors coming from 53 countries including Belgium, Brazil, China, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Italy, Malaysia, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Spain, Turkey and more.

This year’s edition was enhanced with the introduction of the Champagne Bar in Hall 1 and the Festival Food Court in Hall 2. Both of these locations were perfect to relax, unwind and catch up with clients. The high-end setting of the Champagne Bar was an excellent asset for those looking to hold meetings onsite or treat clients to a drink or two. While the Festival Food Court offered a variety of lunch options and was conveniently located in Hall 2. Plus, VIP’s got to enjoy exclusive access to the beautiful VIP Lounge when they could enjoy complimentary lunch, wine and refreshments. These new additions strengthened the show’s overall experience, making it a more enjoyable event for visitors.

The Crafting the Future Networking Hub hosted a variety of talks throughout the show along with live craft demonstrations in partnership with The Furniture Makers’ Company and the AMUSF. Visitors were able to see pieces come to life as talented designer-makers worked on woodwork pieces and upholstered chairs during the show.

Networking was a key theme at this year’s JFS with the multiple social events across the show. Sunday night kicked off with the Show Party and celebration of the Furniture Awards in collaboration with Furniture News. The industry came together and raised a glass to the talented collection of winners:

Best of British

Winner: Alpha Designs Upholstery

Highly Commended: Lebus Upholstery

Global Player

Winner: Qualita

Highly Commended: Tomasella Industria Mobili

Design Innovation

Winner: Whitemeadow Furniture

Highly Commended: A.L.F. UNO

Superior Service

Winner: Iconography

The networking continued at Monday evening’s Women in Furniture Network: Speed Networking event, which saw an expert panel take to the stage including Donna Bellingham, CEO of Shackletons, Laura Newbold-Breen, COO of ACID, Farkhanda Hussain- Butt, Director at Shire Beds and Ingrid Lohse, CSO of Forte, led by Clarion Retail Portfolio Director Zoe Bonser. Women from across the industry came together to not only hear from industry figureheads but also meet and connect with other women from across the industry as they participated in the Speed Networking part of the evening. Victoria Ross, National Sales Manager for Forte Furniture, spoke highly of the importance of the Women in Furniture Network saying ‘I would certainly recommend any of my contacts in the furniture industry, whether you are new or have been around a while, to have a look at joining this network where I had the opportunity to meet, not only lovely, but insightful, interesting women who, without this event I would probably never encountered. Who knows what that random connection might turn into.’

Rounding off the show was Tuesday’s Happy Hour where the winners of the Best Stand awards were announced. Stands were judged on their design aesthetic, innovation, use of materials and the wow factor. It was clear from walking round the show that there was stiff competition, however, the winners were:

Hall 1

Winner: At the Helm

Runner up: Joint Tie with Himolla Polstermoebel GmbH & Whitemeadow

Hall 2

Winner: Febland

Runner up: Fifty South / Premier Housewares

Hall 4

Winner: Forte

Runner up: LPD- Ltd

Hall 5

Winner: Buoyant Upholstery

Runner up: Lebus Upholstery

Buoyant Upholstery’s Development Director, Glen Ainsworth, said ‘We really enjoyed exhibiting at the JFS, it was great to see all our customers and the feedback to our new ranges was amazing. The icing on the cake for us was winning Best Stand in Hall 5. Well done once again to the entire Buoyant Team.’

Ending JFS on such a high with the show’s best ever rebook, signals the importance of the show and desire for the industry to unite at this time every year in Birmingham. Mark your diary for the 19-22 January 2025, but in the meantime the Manchester Furniture Show will soon be here from the 10-11 July. The Furniture Show team are gearing up to relaunch the furniture industry’s favourite summer sourcing event which will once again bring together the sector, in a sociable and fun setting.

See you in July!

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