FURNITURE PRICES GROW 20%
Almost all furniture producers in Bulgaria raised the prices of their products by 10 to 20% in the last two months, traders commented at the specialized exhibition held in the National Palace of Culture from 20 to 24 February. The increase came as a result from the more expensive energy sources, wood, and labour force in the sector.
Although not all figures for 2007 have been presented yet, the Branch Chamber of Wood Processing and Furniture Industry reported a continuing growth of furniture production in the country. A research by the Bulgarian Industrial Association shows that sales revenues for the nine months of 2007 amount to BGN593MN. The amount also includes exports worth EUR148.53MN, while imports amount to EUR112.759MN. Considering the calculations based on sales, imports, and exports figures, about 50% of the revenues of companies in the sector come from the domestic market.
The research also showed that in the past four years the furniture trade positive balance has fallen by 38 per cent. Bulgarian producers export mainly to USA, Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy, and the Balkans (Serbia, Macedonia, Croatia, and Slovenia). From January to September 2007, exports are up 30.1% compared to the same period of the previous year.
According to the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, there are more than 2,500 Bulgarian furniture companies, whereas the branch chamber says their number is approximately 4,000. The sector development strategy stipulates that by 2013 95% of the companies meet the main European requirements for quality of the production. The number of people employed in the furniture industry is planned to grow from 45,000 to 50,000 by year-end. A hundred companies in the sector have been awarded ISO 9001 certificates so far, but their number is expected to double in the next five years.