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Could you struggle to get your hands on garden furniture?

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Popular retailers like Argos, John Lewis and Ikea along with a host of other major firms appear to be running low of garden furniture stock with one even posting a warning on its website. 

Argos currently has a sign stating that due to ‘high demand’ stock of garden furniture is low.

Meanwhile, on John Lewis, it has 72 different garden furniture sets on its website. However, the vast majority – 60 items – are currently showing as out of stock.

A perfect storm of the pandemic, chaos at ports, warmer winters, increased demand from China, inflation and a rise in home renovations have all played a part in demand outstripping supply.

Sheds and garden furniture are low in stock in many stores as there has been high demand

Sheds and garden furniture are low in stock in many stores as there has been high demand

Tom Ironside, director of business and regulation at the British Retail Consortium, said: ‘High demand and increased friction following exit from the EU has put pressure on supplies of garden furniture.’

‘Retailers are working hard to address and rectify the issue and will do everything they can to ensure consumers are not affected.’ 

James Whiteley, owner of White Stores and Nova, a garden furniture wholesale business, told This is Money: ‘We have seen a significant increase in sales. The whole industry has moved up a notch which has led to a shortage of supply, not just in the UK but globally.’

An Ikea spokesperson added: ‘Throughout the pandemic, we have seen an unprecedented demand for products that help people to live, work and play more comfortably from home. 

‘This was especially true as we went into lockdown last spring and customers were keen to make the most of the beautiful weather, with searches for Ikea sun loungers increasing by as much as 1,364 per cent year-on-year between March and May. 

‘Whilst our global supply chain – including the ports and goods terminals where our products are received – has been impacted by the cumulative effects of Covid-19, we are working hard to restore full availability across our product range ahead of our stores reopening and the warmer weather returning.’ 

Argos put a sign up on their website to say they are running out of stock on garden furniture

Argos put a sign up on their website to say they are running out of stock on garden furniture

Homebase is another retailer which has very low stock with only 3 out of 32 products available when it comes to garden furniture.

On the Range website, just 18 of 132 garden lounge sets were available whilst only 41 of 307 Patio sets were in stock when we checked on 15 March 2021.

Robert Dyas showed as having more sets available but many were down to their last numbers. 

Meanwhile, Dunelm’s website shows it currently has 97 garden sets available for delivery whilst 58 are out of stock. On Wayfair just 136 out of 1,119 garden sofa sets were available. 

A quick search on social media shows a number of people are frustrated with UK retailers for not being able to keep up stock:

One Twitter user said they were struggling to find any garden furniture in stock at present

One Twitter user said they were struggling to find any garden furniture in stock at present

Another customer took to Twitter to say their Homebase order has not been delivered

Another customer took to Twitter to say their Homebase order has not been delivered

One customer said all of the Range's garden furniture sets were sold out online

One customer said all of the Range’s garden furniture sets were sold out online

Demand is one of the biggest factors with 48 per cent of consumers intending to spend more on gardens and outside areas, according to data from Mintel.

Marco Amasanti, Mintel retail analyst, added: ‘Gardens and outdoor areas remain in the spotlight, as many housebound consumers look to extend the scope of their living spaces with the return of warmer weather. 

‘This timing mirrors that of last year, as sales surged in the run-up to the bumper Easter bank holiday weekend. 

‘Moving forwards, this focus will remain, even as restrictions begin to ease from later on in the month. 

‘However, as experienced, this huge demand will continue to heap pressure on stocks of garden furniture, heaters, lighting and outdoors dining while demand is also set to upscale, driving an appetite for home extensions, conservatories and garden rooms over the coming year.’

Experts believe smaller suppliers will be unfairly hit as they do not have the buying power of the bigger garden building manufacturers.  

‘There have been supply chain challenges’: Garden furniture firm, Nova, have seen orders soar 

James Whiteley is the founder of one of the UK's largest garden furniture retailers

James Whiteley is the founder of one of the UK’s largest garden furniture retailers

One of the UK’s largest garden furniture retailers, White Stores, said demand has picked up globally with the capacity for products overwhelmed by the number of orders.  

James Whiteley, said the shortage of products was largely due to the factories producing his products only having a certain amount of capacity. 

Despite demand picking up, the factories do not have the capacity to keep up with the orders and has been ‘overwhelmed’.

This coupled with firms not having enough physical storage to keep up with the increased number of orders has meant there have been several challenges.

However, James said it hasn’t all been bad: ‘We’ve fared better than most due to being one of the largest businesses in the industry. 

‘The bigger you are, the easier you fared as factories and productions value biggest customers more and they are taking precedent.

‘As a company we made the decision we would have to ship garden furniture as that’s all we sell. We negotiated with freight companies and whilst we didn’t pay the horrendous figures some of our competitors have, we still paid a serious premium on existing freight rates.

‘We haven’t had to put our prices up much and we suffered most of the increase costs. Just because freight rates go up, it doesn’t mean you should be selling your products for more money.’

He doesn’t see demand changing in the short term. 

‘Whilst more people will be looking to go on holiday as soon as they can there is also a school of thought that there could be a sea of change and more people will want to continue spending time at home and in their garden.’ 

Sheds could double in price

Meanwhile, Britons could pay up to 50 per cent more for their garden sheds due to a global shortage of timber.

Shed manufacturer Kybotech is warning consumers that prices will rocket as summer approaches with customers potentially left waiting months for their outdoor building.  

With regards to sheds in particular, warm winters in Scandinavian countries like Sweden, have also led to less trees being felled with muddy terrain being impossible for heavy vehicles to navigate. 

Kybotech, owner of BillyOh, has also seen sales of log cabins increase by 142 per cent over the last 12 months with an increased demand for outdoor living, working and storage space.   

Charles Walton, Kybotech founder, said: ‘We’re now in the second year of timber shortages and the impact is beginning to be felt.

‘We’ve had two consecutive warm winters which has meant considerably less timber being felled and resulting in a massive global shortage. Other factors have come into play too which have compounded the problem.

‘Combined they have the potential to push up timber prices by as much as 50 per cent and at some point a proportion of that cost will be passed on to the consumer.’

Container chaos: Furniture prices likely to rise 

When the pandemic hit, shipping companies transporting goods across globe didn’t believe there would be much demand for products and therefore decided to take a large number of their ships off the seas.  

However, this meant all containers that have come over to the UK now had few ships to take the empty containers back to China, where much garden furniture is built, creating a build up here and a shortage over there. 

As such, the shipping industry wanted to make sure all working ships were at full capacity. 

This led to increased pricing as there was still high demand, despite what shipping firms originally thought, and not enough ships in circulation to fulfill the demand. 

In some cases, prices to ship goods for retailers jumped from £850 to over £12,000 per container. This is Money has reported and shone a light on since problems began to surface last September. 

Walton warned the combined factors will mean prices inevitably rise. 

He said: ‘It won’t just be businesses like ours which will feel the impact of the shortage. Construction companies and small builders will struggle to get the softwood they need to peg out buildings. It will be felt across many sectors.

‘At some point and as the shortage worsens, we will be left with little choice but to increase our prices.

‘It’s impossible to put a date on when customers should expect that, but our advice is to buy while prices are still low. Everything from our playhouses to our log cabins will inevitably be hit with a new price tag over the next few months.

‘For now, we have the capability and resources to keep our prices as they are and we’re committed to doing that for as long as we can.’

Some links in this article may be affiliate links. If you click on them we may earn a small commission. That helps us fund This Is Money, and keep it free to use. We do not write articles to promote products. We do not allow any commercial relationship to affect our editorial independence.



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Lisa Smith travelled to Turkey to study under Isis propagandist, court told

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Lisa Smith, a former Defence Forces member who denies membership of Islamic State (Isis), travelled to Turkey to become a student of a famous Islamic convert who wrote Isis propaganda, the Special Criminal Court has heard.

Michael O’Higgins SC, for Ms Smith, read out a message exchange in 2013 between his client and an American Islamic scholar John Georgelas, who was living in Egypt at the time.

Counsel said Mr Georgelas asked Ms Smith to travel to Egypt to study under him and said he would pay her to help his wife, Tania Joya, take care of their children.

Ms Smith replied: “I wouldn’t dream of accepting any money for looking after your children. If I can get the benefit of your knowledge as your student that would be more than enough payment for me.”

Mr Georgelas left Egypt with Ms Joya and arranged to meet Ms Smith in Turkey.

Ms Joya, giving evidence for a second day, told Mr O’Higgins that her husband was clever and manipulative and in 2013 was communicating with Ms Smith every day over the internet.

She said he was a respected scholar who could “overwhelm” people with his knowledge of scripture. She told Sean Gillane SC, for the prosecution, that Georgelas wrote for magazines Dabiq and Rumiyah that publish Isis propaganda

Ms Smith (39), from Dundalk, Co Louth, has pleaded not guilty to membership of an unlawful terrorist group, Islamic State, between October 28th, 2015 and December 1st, 2019. She has also pleaded not guilty to financing terrorism by sending €800 in assistance, via a Western Union money transfer, to a named man on May 6th, 2015.

Her trial is continuing in front of Mr Justice Tony Hunt, Judge Gerard Griffin and Judge Cormac Dunne at the three-judge, non-jury court.

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Rioja Estates and TORG International partner for two outlet village projects

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TORG International has partnered with leading UK outlet developer Rioja Estates for the development of two new outlets in Sweden and the UK, Malmo Designer Village and Grantham Designer Outlet Village. Both schemes have already secured planning consent, with Grantham being under construction with the opening scheduled for Autumn 2023. The Malmo outlet is expected to open in Summer 2025.

 

Conveniently located in close proximity to the Danish border, Malmo Designer Village benefits from a significant catchment area. The scheme is expected to rank in the top 25% of outlet centres in Europe in terms of traffic and is predicted to generate above-average sales density.

 

Grantham Designer Outlet Village is located on the country’s third most travelled motorway, the A1 connecting London with Northern England, and is projected to attract 3.5 million visitors annually. A lack of retail competition in the immediate area means that Grantham Designer Outlet Village will achieve significantly greater penetration of its catchment than the UK outlet industry average of 3%, namely for Phase One 7.7% and for Phase Two 8.5%.

 

Says Robert van den Heuvel, Partner Development & Leasing TORG International: “It was at Mapic 2021 that we established this new collaboration with Giles Membrey and his team at Rioja Estates, whom we have known for many years. We were impressed by the quality of their two latest developments in Sweden and the UK and are therefore delighted to be able to share our enthusiasm with the tenant community and industry at large.“

 

Adds Barbara Horatz, Partner Marketing & Retail TORG International: “We feel that both developments meet all the key criteria for a successful future outlet – the strategic location on a major motorway axis, important catchment, strong tourism potential, significant size, qualitative and sustainable architecture. There are not many strategic spots left in Europe for outlet developments and we definitely consider Malmo and Grantham as two of them.”

 

Concludes Giles Membrey: “We see Malmo and Grantham as the beginning of a great collaboration for our two companies –  there are many more opportunities for joint outlet developments that we see ahead of us and that we are already discussing, be it in Europe or in any of the other major markets globally.”

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What’s the best way of getting rid of black mould in my home?

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I’ve got black mould in my home and don’t know how to remove it properly. 

What’s the best way of getting rid of it and ensuring that it doesn’t return in the future? EA, via email

Experts advise removing black needs quickly as harmful spores can get into the air and lungs

Experts advise removing black needs quickly as harmful spores can get into the air and lungs

MailOnline Property expert Myra Butterworth replies: Some properties suffer from condensation, with walls, ceilings and even floors damp and discoloured, often with mould growing on the surfaces.

Left untreated, black mould can be dangerous – particularly to young children and those with underlying respiratory issues – as the spores released from mould can get into their lungs. 

We outline some of the steps that you can take to help remove any black mould that appears, in a safe and effective way.

Susie Spence, of B&Q, replies: Mould is a problem that affects many of us each year, regardless of our living situation. 

While it is well known that mould can cause respiratory issues, it can actually lead to skin rashes as well.

Leaving it untreated is particularly dangerous for young children and those with underlying respiratory issues, as the spores released from mould can get into our lungs.

To get a better understanding of the prevalence of mould across the UK, we conducted a survey which revealed that 32 per cent of us have to contend with some form of mould, damp or condensation every year, but only 38 per cent of us would feel empowered to tackle it ourselves.

However, getting rid of mould using DIY products is relatively straight forward and shouldn’t leave us in a panic. 

We are working with our charity partner, Shelter, to help educate about how to spot mould, remove it and prevent it from coming back.

First, it is important to know how to spot the problem as mould might not always be obvious.

It thrives in damp and humid environments, and can often be found lurking in corners or dark spaces.

You should regularly check behind your cupboards for any mould that isn’t immediately visible. 

Not only that, but mould can get inside drawers and can even set up shop in your clothes, so make sure to be on the lookout when going through your clothing.

You should ensure your house is well ventilated to help keep mould at bay – including keeping furniture two inches from the wall where possible, to help with air flow.

Regularly opening windows is an easy way to do this, but you could also invest in a moisture trap that will help to draw moisture out of the air and prevent condensation that leads to mould.

Black mould can be removed to help prevent it from returning, using a mould remover spray

Black mould can be removed to help prevent it from returning, using a mould remover spray

Once you have located it, you should act quickly to remove it. However, if you are renting, it is best to alert your landlord straight away to fix any problems that are causing mould and you should not attempt to remove it yourself without checking with them first.

But, if you are a homeowner or a landlord, you can follow some simple steps to remove and prevent it for good.

Ensuring you are well protected when getting rid of mould is incredibly important, as harmful spores can get into the air, so you should make sure that you are wearing the correct equipment before getting started.

This includes using a mask, goggles and gloves to protect your lungs, eyes and skin, as well as some protective clothing as it can be a messy job.

It is also worth putting down an old towel or dust sheet to keep mould and mess off the surrounding area.

To remove the mould, there are several simple steps to follow, using readily available products.

First, you should spray the area with a mould remover spray and leave for 30 minutes so it can really take effect, making sure to open a window when you do this.

Once 30 minutes are up, carefully remove the foam and unsightly mould by wiping the area with a cloth and scrubber.

Next, it is important to keep the area well ventilated and leave it to dry completely.

Once dry, you can help to prevent the mould from coming back by painting the area with an anti-mould paint.

Once you have successfully treated your mould, it is important to continue to provide ventilation to keep it away.

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