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Furniture Industry Groups Merge

13th August 2002

Furniture Industry Groups Merge

A significant merger by three of the six key furniture industry organisations in New Zealand will bring new momentum to the industry.

Those three - the Furniture & Furnishings Guild, the Northern Furniture Industry Association and the New Zealand Furniture Exporters - expect even greater industry unification within the next twelve months.

While remaining independent, they have now come under common management from newly-appointed executive director Greg Strong to add value for members as well as the New Zealand economy.

Strong has been marketing director of the Furniture & Furnishings Guild for almost four years.

"I identified early on a need for a united industry body. This is the first step to coordinate activities and make some substantive changes to the way these organizations operate."

Strong believes that unity is the future for the entire industry as it plays a key role in the New Zealand economy.

He says there are currently 1768 furniture-making enterprises spread throughout the country employing approximately 9500 people.

"In many regional areas furniture plants are important contributors to the infrastructure of the towns, and at a national level the industry makes a substantial contribution to the national economy. This is through employment, foreign exchange earnings - with scope to grow exports given the right environment - and is an important import substitution industry with the ability to add significant value to locally sourced raw materials."

According to Strong, this message needs to get through to those in government who do not understand or appreciate the value of the furniture industry to this country's economy.

He adds that over the past 10 years, the average percentage of household expenditure on furniture was 1.42%. Recent figures show that in the year from July 2000 to June 2001, that expenditure increased to 1.49%.

That excites Strong. "In dollar terms those extra percentage points represent around $38m over that 12 month period above and beyond any normal growth. It's safe to say that over the last three years, an additional $100m has been fed into furniture spend by consumers."

"And," he says, "that's just sales, the whole industry in terms of economic activity is worth billions."

One of the key changes this merger has made is the dramatic decrease in cost of participation in activities for industry participants - particularly those of the Furniture & Furnishings Guild.

The Guild is charged with domestic marketing both generically for the entire industry, as well as delivering specific benefits for contributing Guild members.

Export development is the main role of the Furniture Exporters group, and the Northern Furniture Industry Association focuses on manufacturing needs and operational efficiencies.

For further information contact:
Greg Strong
Tel 09 630 9505
Mobile 021 809 297

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