|  13.11.2013

Romanian furniture gets comfy outside

Last years have imposed an ineffable truth about the furniture market dynamic in Romania: the producers grow their businesses exclusively from exports. Official data state that currently, Romania ranks 13th among world’s furniture exporters.

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Magda Purice


Freelance Journalist


Exports maintained Romanian furniture industry at a decent growth pace, whilst internal consumption downsized yearly. In 2012, local producers exported an average of 4.6 percent up to previous year. The markets fond of Romanian craft are Russia, Ukraine, UK, Israel, United States, Canada and Arab Emirates. Regarding the local production, the market saw an increase of 2.7 percent in 2012 and reached EUR 1.83 billion, according to data of Romanian Furniture Manufacturers Association (APMR). For the first quarter of 2013, the increase has been calculated at 11 percent year on year and the obvious gap is determined by the increasing demands on external markets. 
Hence, Q1 of 2013 stated a 14.8 percent growth of furniture exports and the estimations are to reach 13.2 percent by yearend. In the same time, local production decreased in comparable terms, with 10.8 percent. 
The largest Romanian producers are well-know names, as they consolidated their market share and brand awareness in the last decade. Some of them share the same strategy, heavily targeting exports, but not all of them. For instance, Lemet, a large retail network of Romanian furniture owned by businessman Alexandru Rizea targets mainly the local market, same as Casa Rusu brand produced by Rus Savitar Romanian company. The managers said that not only the downsized purchase power of Romanian consumers contributed to a local contracted market, but also the prize hikes registered for raw materials. But brands as Mobexpert of Dan Sucu, Elvila, managed by Viorel Catarama and Aramis Invest, managed by Vladimir Iacob would rather look for the outside markets. Still, local or foreign, retailers forecasted increases in their yearly turnover for 2013. 
For instance, Casa Rusu plans a boost of 15-20 percent this year from EUR 27 million stated in 2012. The same increase is planned by Lemet, with a turnover of EUR 47 million attained in 2012. The increases will come following the retail expansion, as Casa Rusu plans to boost the 13-stores and 11 franchise network by 8 new outlets while Lemet plans 15 new openings this year. 
Moving forward towards the high-end zone, Camelia Sucu, owner of Class Living doesn’t expect much to happen on internal market in the luxury segment. She puts the opinion in the perspective of a larger context of macroeconomic level where significant changes will not be seen this year. Her solution to neutralize the idle market is to address the premium niche. By Class Living, she comes on the market with concept products and design pieces for a small, but distinct and a more reachable and measurable segment. 
A segment that works in direct link with business dynamic is the niche of office furniture. This market shows positive signs in the last year, after a period of contraction, due to the reduced budgets and cut off operations of companies. But, the recovery trend of 2012 seems to consolidate in 2013 as seen by managers of Corporate Office Solutions company, the largest local player in this niche. According to the company estimates, the office furniture market in Romania is expected to reach EUR 35-40 million by yearend, registering a 25 percent increase compared with 2012. To compare, this market was estimated at around EUR 80-100 million in 2007-2008. 

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