The owner of a Salford furniture manufacturer and retailer says that after a tough 2020 business has bounced back as people start to spend money saved during lockdown.

Ryan Mohieddin, Managing Director at Forest Sofa, says the Pendleton-based company has seen an “unexpected demand for home furnishings”.

The national restrictions helped “created a desire to update and refurbish homes as people were unable to go on holiday or dine out.”

Nevertheless despite an unprecedented year, Ryan was proud on how they ended the year “stronger than we could have possibly imagined.”

However, in March 2020 things were looking very different.

“It was a very difficult time when news of the virus began to circulate in March last year,” said Ryan. 

“With so much uncertainty around the virus we opted to shut our business to protect the welfare of our staff and customers.”

Forest showroom / Credit Forest Sofa

Forest Sofa both produce and sell their furniture to order. However, as a result of the nationwide restrictions, production ultimately came to a halt and in turn trade all across the country had been affected.

Even towards the end of last year, production was still feeling the effects, as the result of another lockdown in November.

However, unlike the first lockdown, Forest Sofa were able to work through the November restrictions.

The showroom remained closed to the public but production resumed as the business tried to find normality and stability.

Salford showroom / Credit Forest Sofa

However, a shortage of foam as a result of it being prioritised for its role in PPE production meant the pandemic was still posing problems towards the end of 2020.

“It took several months for production to return to pre-Covid levels and we still face further challenges,” says Ryan.

“Disruptions in the supply chain such as worldwide shortages in raw materials used in the production of foam has been a major challenge for our sector.”

Yet with a potential end to lockdowns in sight, Ryan believes the pandemic will change working practices.

“The pandemic will cause all businesses to review and change things going forward, such as continuing to ask staff to work from home where possible, at least for the time being.”

Ryan also believes that the pandemic has helped retailers in terms of online sales.

“We’ve seen an increase of online shopping as a result of the showroom closing. In the future we hope the confidence of buying high-value items online will continue. Ensuring a strong online presence and a marketing focus on driving online sales is key.”

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