Pricing Pressures on Wood Flooring
Pricing Pressures on Wood Flooring
The UK has seen an unprecedented price increase in goods especially flooring that is predominantly made in the Far East. At One Step Beyond Flooring we have been importing flooring for over 20 years and have never seen increases in prices on this scale. We have always tried to keep our prices stable but with daily increases it has been impossible for us to hold our prices completely -although we have only passed on a proportion of these increases onto our customers and have absorbed as much as we can. There are two main drivers of this – the availability of shipping and also raw materials.
Issues with Shipping
The cost of shipping a twenty-foot container has risen from under one thousand US Dollars to over six thousand US Dollars per container - which has added another £3.00 a square metre to the cost of goods.
The problem with shipping is that there are not enough containers in China due to them being sent to Europe, the UK and the USA but due to the ports being short of staff and with the lockdowns, manufacturing was almost non-existent, and goods were not being shipped back to the Far East.
Because of this, the shipping companies mothballed most of their fleets which left a shortage of container ships. The available ships were then in such demand that prices increased to an all-time high. The shipping companies seem to have taken full advantage of this and have kept and are keeping their prices higher than they have ever been before.
Availability of Wood
All our flooring, especially the Bespoke Woodflooring range, is made from Oak trees, cut down in French or German forest and with the shutdowns imposed by the pandemic there were not as many trees felled last year as normal. This has put a strain on the availability of Oak Veneers, and we are hearing that French and German Mills are keeping most of their Veneers for their local markets, thus putting an extra strain on material sourcing.
Our Engineered Herringbone Flooring, which is our most popular product, has seen a raw material increase of over $4.00 per square metre over the past 3 months, which equates to an additional £2.80 per square metre. With our own finishing line in our London factory we can now produce all colours to order from unfinished boards which guarantees much better availability than purchasing finished product form China.
For solid wood flooring the additional cost is now around £5.80 per m2, which is a 15% increase. A lot of other manufacturers and retailers are taking advantage of these increases and have put on a 50% hike in some prices and we have even seen examples of a 70% price increases on some solid oak wood flooring.
Unfortunately, our many contacts in the industry believe this is only the start of the pricing increases. Wood flooring, including engineered herringbone floors, will have a further price hike due to the shortage of oak veneers. We are expecting to see this over the coming months and the shortage is so severe that we have given our factories huge investment up front to secure as much veneer as possible from the mills to avoid running out of stock. We are also expecting the shipping companies to keep less ships on the move which will inevitably keep the prices with possibly even higher to come.
Where will this all end? We do not actually know but we do know that things will take a long time to get back to normal, or maybe this could be the new normal. All governments want to keep a lid on inflation but with most goods arriving by sea, inflation will creep up which will not be good for any of us.
What we can tell you is that One Step Beyond Flooring Wholesale will endeavour to try and absorb as many of these increases in prices as we possibly can but if you are looking at purchasing a wood floor in the near future, it may be prudent to purchase now whilst the prices have not peaked as we believe further increases will be inevitable.
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