The European parquet flooring sector recorded an unexpected positive upturn during 2003, according to figures just released.

The European Federation of the Parquet Industry (FEP), meeting for its 48th general assembly in Lugano on June 11, said production in the traditional FEP countries rose 5.6% last year to 65.8 million m3, compared to 2002.

Dieter Betz, FEP chairman, said the main challenges for the industry were stimulating consumption, the need to confront competition from Asia and eastern Europe, recovering market share from laminates and convincing consumers of the advantages of wood flooring.

He said the sector should move away from fragmentation and have a more united and pro-active vision to ensure its future development.

FEP intends to strengthen itself by opening up membership to supplier companies to create a real “parquet industry cluster”. Other actions include initiating a consumer survey, involvement in CEI-Bois’ Roadmap 2010 process and holding annual “best practice” awards.