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'Things are quieter this year,' said the Germans at this year's Cologne Furniture Fair, recoiling as usual at the merest whiff of economic recession. There were fewer visitors (around 123,000 compared with over 145,000 last year) which presumably meant fewer deals. But all things are relative. The amount of business done in one day at Cologne would still be the envy of the rival Milan show, let alone anything in the uk.