Coropulis, Poltrona Frau: how the pandemic has changed furnishing

Coropulis, Poltrona Frau: how the pandemic has changed furnishing

The pandemic has changed customer demands: more hybrid and multifunctional furnishing solutions. For example: the table becomes a desk. Or: the sofa, while remaining a place to relax, also becomes a video call station. Without neglecting the fact that, in some cases, the distinction between indoor and outdoor furniture has disappeared. These are demands and changes that have rewarded Poltrona Frau’s offer, as CEO Nicola Coropulis (pictured) explains in this interview. He is cautiously optimistic about 2022, even if the tensions in the supply chain will not stop.

How the pandemic changed the furniture industry

How did Poltrona Frau close 2021?

We have record orders in the residential division: +35% on 2019, which was our best year. So the outlook is good. On the other hand, the contract division recorded a contraction linked to the pandemic in two ways. Construction sites for our projects have been halted or permanently suspended. The generation of new orders has stopped. Let’s take the example of airports: their operators are waiting to invest.

Summing up?

The contract share accounts for about 20% of the total turnover, so the performance of the residential part has led to a closure of 2021 with an increase in sales between 5 and 10% compared to 2019 (closed at 143 million euro, ed). We grew a lot in Asia: China in particular.

Prospects for 2022?

We are cautiously optimistic. We are convinced that certain trends are set to continue. For example, comfortable, multifunctional furniture. We are also keeping an eye on the contract division, which could get going again.

The challenge

You will also be able to count on the outdoors, a segment you entered in 2021…

Yes. With the pandemic, people are spending more time at home and we have entered the outdoor category to take advantage of people’s tendency to use outdoor domestic spaces such as terraces and gardens. And not just when it’s hot.

Will one of the challenges in 2022 also be in the supply chain?

Definitely. The difficulties we encountered in 2021, not so much in the leather area but in other materials, will continue. We believe that the bubble of price increases will stabilise. We hope that the regularity of supplies will also normalise.

Have you made or will you make any changes in the development of your supply chain?

No. Except to expand the pool of suppliers in order to have a plan B or C.

Poltrona Frau and the web

Is Poltrona Frau luxury furniture sold online?

Yes, and we’ve learned a lot of things online. For example, that the products that sell best are those that have a high degree of recognisability and a low index of configurability: like the office chair. On the other hand, when the product is complex and there are a lot of options to choose from and decide on, such as a sectional sofa, we have activated a function on our website that allows the potential customer to contact the expert and then visit one of our shops.

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