Six fabricators of products to the home improvement sector have called for a halt to the ongoing practice of pushing price rises at the top down the supply chain.
Central Window Systems, Conservatory Outlet, Listers, Roseview, Prefix Systems and SolarFrame have joined forces to urge firms in the sector to work together to find new efficiencies and to combat the unending barrage of price increases being introduced - especially at a time when consumer demand is down.
Recent publicly available data shows that household spending has reduced by up to 50% compared to the same period last year and bosses believe the last thing consumers and retailers need to contend with now is a further rise in the cost of products.
“We’ve seen prices increase at exponential rates over the last two years and this has continued through into 2022,” explained Greg Kane, CEO of Wakefield-based Conservatory Outlet.
“The determination has always been there to shield our customers from these price hikes, absorbing what we can through improved efficiencies, working creatively with our supply partners and passing on what we must. We’ve held the line and absorbed all incoming increases throughout 2022 but there obviously reaches a point when this becomes unsustainable.”
Gary Morton, Managing Director of Central Window Systems, continued: “This isn’t just affecting us, but our industry as a whole and we must be as transparent as possible to act in the best interest of the entire sector. If these price rises continue, and are again forced down the supply chain, consumers will simply not engage.
“Enforcing more price increases during a market slowdown is entirely counterproductive and will do more harm than good in both the short and long-term.”
The recent proposal of price increases from the very top of the chain are due to take place in September and would happen just as the energy cap is set to rise again, with manufacturers and retailers set to be stuck in the middle with pressure from both sides.
These changes could exacerbate a suppressed market and be counterintuitive to campaigns promoting the financial viability of purchasing new, energy-efficient windows and doors or extensions for their homes.
Employing thousands of staff and amassing more than £130m sales between them, the six companies believe their involvement in both manufacturing and retail gives them a unique insight into consumer pain points and a worrying dip in demand that some firms in the industry are failing to see coming.
Roy Frost, Managing Director of Listers, went on to add: “As an industry, we have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to face countless challenges, but this barrage of price increases simply must stop.
“We’re not trying to single out particular suppliers, more a case of looking for a more sensible and collaborative approach that focuses on the all-important consumer at the end of the chain.”
Chris Cooke, Managing Director of Prefix Systems, concluded: “The industry needs those at the top of the supply chain to listen to the voice of consumer-led businesses and explore ways of absorbing some of the increases without passing them on.
“We are already doing this for our customers, using all the efficiency savings we’ve made to cushion the cost increases from above. However, this is only possible on the prices of the products Prefix has market control over.
“It is undeniably a tough trading environment, but this is a case of ensuring the longevity and long-term success of the sector.”