The Global Impact of Raw Material Shortages on Our Prices.

One of the big benefits of being an independent family business is the power it gives us to react quickly when sales markets change.

This ability to rise to challenges has really come to the fore over the past 12 months when we have had to adapt to the major changes wrought by the Covid pandemic.

However, the pandemic has caused us to make some tough decisions too and one of those has been the need to raise our prices from 1st March.

This reflects worldwide factors and has happened across the whole of the furniture industry.

Even before Christmas, the British Furniture Manufacturers trade body was warning about shortages of foam and particleboard impacting on production and this proved to be the case for our chair manufacturers. Many of our customers have had to wait several weeks longer than normal for their chair to be made.

Globally, some foam suppliers have struggled to get the chemicals they need to make their products, and this general lack of supply has been made more acute by a big demand from customers.

As a result of these shortages, prices of raw materials have gone up and given that foam is one of the biggest costs in furniture production, manufacturers have been forced to pass on price increases to their trade customers and this is reflected in the higher prices we have had to introduce.

So acute has been the issue of foam shortages affecting the British furniture manufacturing sector that it has been raised in Parliament.

In response to a written question Nadhim Zahawi, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, said: “The issue on the effect of shortages of foam and particleboard on the UK furniture industry has been raised with the Department through correspondence, as well as engagement with the UK furniture sector.

“Various factors have contributed to a severe lack of raw materials for manufacturers, including successive storms in the Gulf of Mexico, annual turnarounds at chemical plants in Europe, and technical issues at another plant. This has subsequently impacted the cost of these materials. The reported issues with the supply of some chemicals used in foam production is a commercial issue and likely a result of an increased global demand on these materials.

“We will continue to monitor the situation and engage with the furniture sector to gain a better understanding of the situation and its impact.”

As an omnichannel retailer our aim is to keep our prices as true as possible, especially when compared to large retailers who have bigger overheads. In view of this, we believe our prices are still extremely competitive and we will continue to constantly review and maintain our best prices combined with the high quality service on which we pride ourselves.

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