Shortages of foam and particleboard are set to impact the production of furniture in the run-up to Christmas, the British Furniture Manufacturers (BFM) has warned.
A lack of these essential materials is reducing production capacity and driving up costs, which will see price increases passed on to customers in the coming weeks, reports the association, whose members are reporting shortages in both the foam and particleboard markets, with both materials now being sold on an allocation basis.
BFM MD Nick Garratt says: “The squeeze in supply in both the foam and particleboards markets has possibly been exacerbated by a post-lockdown spike in demand for furniture. Our members are consistently reporting shortages as foam suppliers struggle to access chemical feedstocks, principally TDI.
“The main block suppliers just about managed to meet industry demand in September but have now advised of ongoing chemical shortages in October. Factories are being put on reduced allocations of foam block, which is affecting production capacity in the critical pre-Christmas delivery period.
“Furthermore, and as a result of these shortages, prices have been increasing and most factories are now discussing a third price increase in a few months. Cumulative increases are typically +25% and given that foam is one of the biggest costs in furniture production, factories will need to pass on price increases to customers.
“The cabinet sector is also reporting significant shortages of medium density fibreboard (MDF) and melamine faced chipboard (MFC), as many European suppliers of MFC have withdrawn from the UK market due to the uncertainties of Brexit.
“The lack of materials means manufacturers are now working on an allocations basis and can currently only access around 75% of pre-Covid purchases. As particleboard suppliers raise their prices, factory gate prices are also set to rise.”