“Downton effect” boosts interior designers’ fortunes

Could Dame Maggie Smith and her dramatic household’s antics be responsible for an upturn in the fortunes of luxury furnishings companies?

According to the FT, a resurgence in interior design fashions seen in the British drama, along with growth in house building, has coincided with an uptick in profits seen by two small AIM-quoted luxury furnishing companies.

Despite creating items such as £75 a roll wall-papers, extravagant sofas and floral chintzes, the luxury furnishing sector is regarded as a weather vane for property markets and consumer confidence.

Yesterday, Walter Greenbank, whose high-end brands include Sanderson and Morris & Co said that trading had strengthened in the six months to January and would beat market forecasts. Sales in the US rose by 8%, while in Europe sales grew by 9%.

And last week, Colefax, which is a name synonymous with English country-house elegance, announced a 72% rise in pre-tax profits, to £3.1m in the six months to October.

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