The ever increasing need to differentiate and refresh hospitality interiors has led to shortages of outdoor furniture and extended lead times on anything made to order. All sizes of business from local pubs to large hotel chains are feeling the pinch, and having to pay a premium for any available models they can find that fit their concept.
These are challenging times for suppliers too, as managing director of the market leading Contract Furniture Group, Richard Bellamy, confirms:
“Timber, fabrics, plastics, transport – you name a cost and it’s gone through the roof. Our margins have always been thin, so trying to find ways to keep our prices down is tough – especially when our customers rely on us being the most cost-effective supplier around.
“We’ve seen demand skyrocket in the last couple of years, while many of our competitors have struggled to keep up. The market consolidation has seen us grow, but also limited buyers’ options – which has subsequently put further pressure on supply chains and the cycle continues. Luckily for us we work exclusively with a number of European manufacturers, so our lead times have not been as badly affected as others. We’re seeing some pretty big players having to quote over fourteen weeks to get bespoke upholstered seating, which is just far too long for most people. I’m not saying we can return to the three or four weeks we used to work to, but happily we’re nowhere near those kinds of delays.”
With the summer upon us and the need for outdoor furniture imminent, it seems inevitable that there will be a clammer for different ways to kit out new spaces or replace damaged items. Forward planning for furnishings has never been so business critical for the hospitality industry. Thankfully there are still contract furniture suppliers out there agile enough to deliver when the unexpected occurs and we need solutions fast.
See www.contractfurniture.co.uk or the advert on this page.