Qualita Promises Core Expansions and Classic Revivals

Published on: January 5, 2023

Last January, Furniture News published an in-depth profile of Lithuanian cabinet furniture manufacturer Qualita, outlining its impressive expansion and brand-building achievements against the challenging backdrop of the pandemic. Since then, Qualita has faced further challenges – yet the business very much remains on top, explains its head of sales for the UK and Ireland, Anthony Matthias…

“The world in general has faced exceptional challenges in the past year,” Anthony begins, “but, given Qualita’s proximity to the conflict in Ukraine, we’ve felt those pressures even more acutely. Inflation, and the unforeseen supply issues that arose (we used to purchase materials and components from Ukraine), meant we had to make some difficult commercial decisions to insulate ourselves from the worst effects of it all, and to protect the business.”

Despite this, Qualita enjoyed significant wins last year. “The relaunch of the [former Winsor Furniture mainstay) Stockholm living and dining collection has been a great success,” Anthony continues. “Thanks to a great team effort, we now have more than 70 shopfloor displays across the length and breadth of the UK.

“In line with our stated aims, we now keep stock of the products in our warehouse in Lithuania, enabling us to offer an industry-leading delivery time of just 4-6 weeks in most cases. This, we believe, is playing a crucial role in the collection’s success, and is of huge benefit to retailers (and equally appealing to consumers).

“We’ve also updated the imagery available. We’ve opted for a slightly more contemporary setting, and hope this will help broaden the collection’s appeal, drawing in a younger audience.”

Anthony says last year’s later-than-planned JFS also enabled Qualita to launch its own collections of occasional furniture and shelving – Camden, Fulham and Regal, which it showcased to great effect in April. “As a result of much hard work, we now offer these ranges on an 2-3-week lead time, with stock of the Camden and Fulham collections held in the UK in our logistics partner’s warehouse,” Anthony continues. “These collections are great for our established bricks-and-mortar retailer base, but also work well for online retailers.”

As far as Qualita’s core contemporary living and dining offer is concerned, September saw the addition of solid ash alongside the solid oak and walnut collections. The ash tops (on selected table styles) are available in four oiled finishes, and competitively priced.

Bringing the story up to the present, Qualita plans to build upon these at JFS this month (stand 1-D50) by launching several table designs, complemented by various dining chair styles.

“I’m also delighted to announce that we’ll be relaunching the Shadows collection at JFS,” Anthony reveals, excited by the prospect of reviving an industry classic: “Back in the autumn we forged an agreement with CSI to take over the import, supply and distribution of the collection.

“Crucially, we’ll also be looking to stock the collection, thereby offering a very competitive lead time. Shadows will continue to be produced in Indonesia, and by the same manufacturer, with whom we enjoy an excellent relationship – but we’ll only be offering the collection in oak (Shadows was also available in teak beforehand).”

Anthony also explains that, in its role as Laura Ashley’s (LA) cabinet furniture licensee, Qualita continues to expand the distribution of LA’s products by supplying retailers including John Lewis and Next. “Additionally, we’re in active discussions with other selected retailers, and are also looking forward to playing our part in celebrating LA’s 70th anniversary this year.”

Not content to rest on its many laurels, Qualita is also moving a new home (office and warehouse) in Mitcham early this year, which will give it the space and facilities to support its ambitious growth plans – for this year and beyond.