No peace for the wood industry and furniture in Milan. Even the export, the only entry with a plus sign, managed to stem hemorrhage in 2013 that saw the loss of 6,821 jobs (-1.8%) and 2,411 companies (-3.5%) compared the previous year. Impressive numbers which unfortunately must be added to those recorded from the beginning of the crisis that has wiped out in less than 10 years: 50 thousand jobs and 12 thousand businesses.
A large bill which must be measured in a vertical drop of the aggregate turnover from 2007 to 2013 to 15 billion euro, of which 900 million euro were pulverized last year. The sector starts from here. And it does so trusting, for the moment, on one certainty: the continued growth of exports, in recent years, driven by demand from emerging markets, which last year reached 12.8 billion euro share (+2.4%), almost half of total sales production amounted to 27.5 billion euro (-3.2 %). Most of which were created by the macro-furnishing with € 10.8 billion of exports (+2.5%) on a total turnover of 17.7 billion euro (-2.5% on 2012). A negative result that clearly reflects the contraction of domestic consumption in this segment of the market (-7.5%), from 10.5 to 9.7 billion euros. By contrast, the export-import balance is positive of +4.3% to € 8 billion. Similar situation, although with different numbers, that of the macro-wood furniture-building that has experienced a decline in sales to the production of -4.4%, from 10.2 to 9.8 billion Euros.
With an increase in exports of 1.7%, rose to 2 billion euro. That figure, however, does not compensate for the fall in domestic consumption (-5.6%), which now accounts for 9.5 billion euro, 500 million less than in 2012. Even in this case, the balance export-import is positive but even with a spread of 87.9%. A booty as dowry from export the entire supply chain, which in reality could be much larger if the strong euro had not braked Italian exports around the world. But the real burden for the sector remains the chronic asphyxia in the domestic market , certified by the cold, hard calculations of the Study Centre Cosmit FederlegnoArredo that detects yet another collapse in domestic consumption aggregates sector (-6.5%), decreased in a year from 20.5 to 19.2 billion euros, and imports (-3.2%) , decreased from 4.7 to 4.5 billion Euros. "The situation, however, may have been even worse if the government had not extended for 2014 the bonus furniture - says Roberto Snaidero, President of Federlegno -Furniture. By this measure 3,800 jobs and 1,000 companies have been saved for the moment. Not only that, thanks to the introduction of the income tax deduction of 50% to a maximum expenditure of € 10 thousand for the purchase of furniture and appliances, it is expected a recovery in consumer spending of about € 1.2 billion in the 2013-2014 period”.
In this direction, according to Snaidero, the Renzi government should move acting on the reorganization of the tax system to restructure the VAT rates and related facilities. "It is important that our country - look at the president - is aligned with European standards: remember how in Spain, France and Belgium, VAT rate on the furnishings is between 6 and 10% while in Italy is 22% for the majority of the furniture products." If it were possible, he adds Snaidero, the government should intervene in a targeted manner on a more limited audience of consumers who are in obvious difficulty: that of young couples. "We have brought together trade unions - he explains - to reduce the VAT rate from 22% to 8% for the purchase of furniture for this category of people.
A facility that could also be extended to single-parent families with minor children. "In Italy the young couples represent about 10% of Italian households and account for over 15% of the consumption of furniture. Support for this faint band of the population would result in an advantage for the SMEs of the Italian sector, which constitute more than 90% of the chain. "The measure - points Snaidero - would, in fact, be the logical corollary of the "package - house" launched by the government Letta. A measure that would give a further contribution to the support of the national consumption of furniture that , in spite of the bonus furniture are expected to continue to fall by 4.4% in 2014. "
Meanwhile, FederlegnoArredo and unions have joined forces earlier this year by signing a memorandum of understanding that promotes an "operating handbook" for the use of tax deductions for the purchase of furniture intended for dwellings subject to restructuring. In this operation, is also envisaged the active involvement of the Tax Assistance Centres (CAF) of the UIL, CISL and CGIL to support buyers interested in bonus furniture. "The agreement - notes Snaidero - is another step in the activity that, along with the unions, are pursuing with increasing conviction and effectiveness in favor of an industrial policy aimed at relaunching the wood-furniture sector, one of the engines of the Italian economy which contributes to balance of payment with a surplus of € 8 billion." The furniture system records the growth of exports by 1.7 % that rose to EUR 2 billion.