Six fabricators serving the home improvement sector have collectively called for top-down price rises to stop. Central Window Systems, Conservatory Outlet, Listers, Roseview, Prefix Systems and SolarFrame jointly urged firms within the sector to work together, find new efficiencies and combat what feels to them like an unending barrage of price increases introduced during a time of low consumer demand. The six firms employ thousands of staff and have amassed more than £130m sales between them.
“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, added: “This isn’t just affecting us but our industry as a whole. 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 latest price increases from the very top of the supply chain are set to take effect in September, just as the energy cap is set to rise again. Manufacturers and retailers would then face pressure from both sides, the six fabricators have argued. Such 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.
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. It’s 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 that 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.”