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“Downton effect” boosts interior designers’ fortunes

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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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