Bedding and upholstered furniture manufacturers say they are bracing for foam price hikes that are expected to hit double digits.
“With significant price increases, products would need to be de-speced or bedding prices would go up,” said Therapedic president Gerry Borreggine. He also said the timing would be “most inopportune” for his group, which just launched the most successful all-foam bedding line in its history.
The bedding producers said the foam price hikes are coming in the wake of shortages of key chemicals used in foam production, shortages that are expected to lessen in the months to come, when foam prices could moderate but still remain at a higher level than they were earlier this year.
Jim Wiygul, owner of Independent Furniture Supply, a foam fabricator in Tupelo, said that chemical prices rise periodically, “but this is the worst since (Hurricane) Katrina.” He said foamers are expecting price increases of 17 to 22 percent due to shortages of the chemical toluene disocyanate (TDI), a derivative of oil. “My customers get sick and tired of hearing this statement but the reality of it is, just go to the gas pump and it’s the same thing.”
Upholstery producers are worried about the pressure they’re going to get from retailers to hold the line.
Dan White, president of upholstery maker Norwalk, said the past 18 months have seen a seesaw of price escalations and rollbacks in foam, and is heading up in double digits now. “So don’t tell me inflation is under control,” he said.
“We had that absolutely nuts situation because of the shortage of cotton,” White said, referring to the doubling of cotton prices earlier because of droughts and floods in cotton producing countries. “People started using more polyester so the price of that went up.”
Other products will follow the foam, according to Jim Sneed, president of Affordable Furniture. “Freight, of course, fiber, some kits and some roll goods (are going up),” he said. “When that happens along come the supplies—thread, plastic bags, springs. I expect a general increase at the April market if not before.”