A North East furniture store has not sat still, after seeing a huge boost in sales of sofas and suites over the past year.

Harrison and Brown, which occupies a five floor building at Holmeside, Sunderland, was hit like many retail outlets by the many periods of closure during the pandemic.

But thanks to the introduction of some innovative ways of shopping – including virtual tours and private shopping slots – the store has seen positive growth, including doubling sales for living room furniture.

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Owner Mandy Brown admits it has been a tough year but believes the business has been helped by the fact that people were stuck at home.

“Everyone in retail has had a really challenging time,” said Mandy.

“But what we have seen is people deciding to give their homes a new look because they were spending so much time there, along with using money they might have been saving for holidays on doing up their house.”

Mandy revealed that new seating had been particularly popular.

“Everyone was spending so much time in front of the television that they seemed to recognise their old settee wasn’t quite as comfortable as they thought,” she said.

“We’ve seen a huge boost in sales of chairs, sofas and suites – double what we would normally sell in this period.”

The store has recently unveiled its fifth floor, named The Loft, which offers a range of contemporary furnishings.

Harrison and Brown sell items for every room in the home including carpets, beds and a number of unique accessories.