Colefax to take on IKEA

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The Independent Online
Colefax and Fowler is to introduce a line of "more informal" furnishings and fabrics, in a move away from its chintz floral designs, to counter the influence of Swedish group IKEA on British interior decoration tastes, writes Richard Halstead.

Colefax will roll out its new range at Decorex, the annual interior design trade show, in September, which will be priced lower than the company's traditional up-market products.

The move comes as IKEA continues its "Chuck out your Chintz" television advertising campaign, which aims to persuade consumers to ditch traditional floral furniture designs in favour of the pine and primary colours offered by IKEA.

"We are in touch with market needs and we try to stay ahead," said David Green, chairman of Colefax and Fowler. "We are just expanding what we do to encompass a broader range."

In the "Chuck out your chintz" advertisement, mostly female consumers are portrayed throwing out their floral-patterned home furnishings, including an identifiable Colefax and Fowler curtain.

Colefax and Fowler has recovered strongly since falling into loss in 1993. The company's half-year figures showed profits growth of 45 per cent to pounds 1.01m, thanks to the booming housing market in south-east England.