Furniture sector turns to local market amid export slowdown
The furniture export industry has been facing a slow decline in the past decade, but the local market is getting stronger.
This was the view of Jim Cassels, marketing manager of Furniture City, who has been in the furniture industry for the past 30 years.
Cassels said that the influx of cheap mass-produced products from China had placed the local industry at a disadvantage, rendering local furniture makers unable to compete with the low prices from the China-made products.
But locally-made furniture products can compete with these cheap China-made furniture products.
“Our answer to that is high quality. Our quality far exceeds any other (country) in Southeast Asia. That’s our answer to the Chinese market,” said Cassels.
While the export industry including the export of furniture has experienced a slowdown in the last couple of years, the local furniture market, especially in Cebu province, has shown an increase in demand.
Cassels said the rise of infrastructure, residential, and commercial developers in Metro Cebu brought with it the demand for quality furniture.
“The local market is strong. As a matter of fact, one of the smartest things we did in Furniture City was to go for the local market. Our exports have been in decline, but because we decided for the local market, particularly the Philippines, which has a ’tiger economy’ for several years now, it helped us a great deal,” he said.
As proof of the rising demand of furniture in Cebu, Furniture City, a furniture store and distributor, will host its second Christmas Bazaar on Nov. 30 to Dec. 2 in its Hernan Cortes, Mandaue City showroom.
Cassels said that the bazaar would be targeted at millennials with the event featuring food, entertainment and bargain-priced products.
The ‘successful’ bazaar last year encouraged the management to use the strategy again this year hoping to reach 50 percent more than they have earned in 2017.
Edward Hayco, president and chairman of Furniture City, said he would expect a livelier and more extravagant Christmas bazaar this year because there would be 42 bazaar participants, 17 of which would include those from the food, garments, jewelry and accessories, gifts, toys and hardware that would serve to complement the highlight of the bazaar: the variety of furniture products.
“People can’t find furniture at such low prices anywhere. They should not pass up this chance to find the best works with the lowest prices,” said Hayco.
The bazaar will run from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. with nightlong entertainment and food stalls for the customers.
Interior designers from the Cebu Chapter of the Philippine Institute of Interior Designers (PIID) will be present at Furniture City to also give customers free design consultations during the bazaar.
“If you are looking for new furniture for your home, or if you want to know how to arrange the furniture you have bought, our designers will be there to help you,” said Cyxandra Estrada, Furniture City’s interior designer.
Upside down booth
April Ramos, Furniture City’s publicist, said that in time for the bazaar, an upside down booth would also be open in Furniture City.
“This is line with Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat of the Department of Tourism said that she would want showrooms to be the new tourists spots in Cebu,” said Ramos.
She said that she hoped that the booth would catch the interest of the fun-loving people of Cebu.
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