According to the ONS, furniture material and fuel costs were up by 5% in February compared to the same month a year ago and 0.6% on the previous month.

Furniture costs and retail prices continue to rise

According to the Office of National Statistics, furniture material and fuel costs were up by 5% in February compared to the same month a year ago and 0.6% on the previous month. By comparison, factory gate prices of all furniture produced for the domestic market rose by 1.5% compared to a year ago.

The retail price of furniture sold in the UK, including imports, rose by 3.3% compared to February 2020. This represents the second largest rise for 3 years, only beaten by 4.5% recorded in January this year.

These latest figures released from ONS, whilst disappointing are not a surprise to the industry. BFM issues a monthly price report on all key raw materials and the latest report shows the majority of raw materials rising at alarming rates. Increases in foam prices are well documented but we have also seen large increases in metal parts such as springs and actions, most fibres used in fabrics, timber based products and hide. Moreover, some materials such as foam and particle board are now in short supply and have moved on to an allocation basis. Inbound transport costs are a major part of the problem and container rates are five or six times the level of a year ago. Most furniture makers have already been forced to increase their selling prices and unfortunately we fear there may be more to come’

The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) rose by 0.4% in the 12 months to February 2021, down from 0.7% to January 2020. When owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH) are included we see a comparative rise of 0.7%, down from 0.9% to January. The RPI remain the same at 1.4%.

The average weekly amount spent on retailed furniture (includes lighting) was down 12% in February this year compared to the same month last year; a slightly better result than the minus 13.7% recorded in January. Translated into monthly sales, this amounts to £971 million, a fall of 11.9%. Although negative, the February figure represents an improvement on the January figure which showed sales were down by 31% compared to January in 2020.