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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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Barings and HBD secure planning for London logistics scheme (GB)

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Barings and HBD have secured detailed planning for a strategic logistics scheme in Rainham, London, transforming a 20-acre brownfield site. The new development, Momentum London, is being delivered by Barings and HBD in a joint venture partnership. It will create 381,814ft² of new logistics and industrial space across four units ranging from 41,000 -171,000ft².

 

The scheme will target Net Zero Carbon, BREEAM “Excellent” and an EPC “A+” rating. This is being achieved by dynamic design, careful consideration of materials, zero use of fossil fuels, maximizing photovoltaic solar panels, battery storage and intelligent building systems. The units will be 100% EV ready, including passive fleet charging to the yards.

 

The logistics park will be set in landscaped environment with picnic and public areas, as well as direct access onto the Thames Cycle Path, so that it brings further social benefits to the area. Positioned on the River Thames, with potential for jetty access, Momentum will offer an easy stepping stone into Central London and out via the A13, just minutes away.

 

Darren Hutchinson, Head of UK Real Estate Transactions and Managing Director at Barings, said: Momentum London will be a strategically located logistics scheme with strong environmental and social credentials, beneficial both to future occupiers and the communities around it. Logistics is one of Barings’ preferred investment sectors and Momentum London exemplifies the kind of developments we’re seeking, with a keen interest in exploring joint ventures like this one with HBD.”

 

Simon Quine, Senior Development Surveyor at HBD, said: “Industrial and logistics space remains in very limited supply across London, particularly larger distribution units. Momentum will plug that gap within the M25 and provide modern, sustainable logistics and distribution space to serve London and the wider South East market. Landscaping and wellness have been thoroughly considered, with careful design considerations and enhancements to the Thames Foot and Cycle path, which we hope will help occupiers to attract and retain staff.”

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Mirrored furniture trend can create the illusion of space in your home

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Mirrored furniture provokes strong emotions. Some see it as the epitome of bad taste, flashy and bling. Others know that mirrors have magic powers.

A mirrored table or cabinet makes a room or a hallway appear more swish and spacious. It’s a trick that bars and restaurants employ to ensure their establishments appear roomier and more inviting — and they can add lustre to your home, too.

Choosing a piece of mirrored furniture also sends out a sign that you are aware of one of the year’s trends — the return of Art Deco, the influential style that emerged in the 1920s. 

Reflections: A mirrored bedside table. The power of the mirror to create an impression has been recognised for centuries

Reflections: A mirrored bedside table. The power of the mirror to create an impression has been recognised for centuries

It blended forms that celebrated modern machinery with decorative elements drawn from Greco-Roman culture and nature. 

The mirror was a favourite material, used on the surfaces of furniture and walls to supply a shimmering silver and gold effect.

Probably the most famous piece of Art Deco architecture is New York’s Chrysler Building. Completed in 1930, its sunburst-patterned stainless steel spire remains one of the key elements of the Manhattan skyline.

Art Deco console tables, drinks trolleys and other items from the era of the building’s construction sell for thousands on auction sites such as 1stdibs underlining the growing appeal of this aesthetic. 

Jamie Watkins, the co-founder of fabric and wallpaper company Divine Savages, explains Art Deco’s allure for a new audience.

‘Art Deco, with its bold geometrical patterns was such an iconic period for design: it’s synonymous with glamour and luxury.’

The resurgent popularity of Art Deco is also based on its practicality: a mirrored piece works with almost any interior, adding interest and depth.

The power of the mirror to create a wow impression has been recognised for centuries. 

Examples of this technique include the round mirror on the wall behind the bride and groom in Jan van Eyck’s 1434 Arnolfini Portrait in the National Gallery. It sends out the message that the couple are discerning — and wealthy.

Cheers: B&M's £25 oval drinks trolley with two mirrored shelves

Cheers: B&M’s £25 oval drinks trolley with two mirrored shelves

The hall of mirrors in the palace of Versailles was designed to be a place of beauty, but also to display the financial resources of Louis XIV, the Sun King. Mirrors were a luxury item until an inexpensive manufacturing process was invented in the 1830s.

In 2022, it is possible to pick up mirrored pieces for under £100. B&M has a £25 oval drinks trolley with two mirrored shelves that would lend an air of Thirties elegance to any gathering. The £94.99 Ellison serving cart (a U.S. term for drinks trolley) from Wayfair has a similar vibe.

If you believe that the right mirrored trolley would save you money on trips to bars, the larger £144.95 gold oval mirrored trolley from Melody Maison could be the thing.

A mirrored cocktail cabinet will dazzle guests. The £1,200 Primrose & Plum champagne and gold cabinet has a Jazz-Age feel.

The £299 Venetian sideboard from Furniture Market, meanwhile, is a more modestly priced way to conjure up the party spirit of the Roaring Twenties.

The show flats of apartment blocks are often equipped with mirrored cocktail cabinets containing bottles of spirits and crystal glasses. This makes buyers dream of dinner parties, with a prelude of aperitifs, but also serves to make the apartment appear even roomier.

A console table in the hall also creates an illusion of space which can be amplified by the addition of a lamp. HomesDirect365 has a range in the style of almost every era including Art Deco, Regency, the 1960s and the 1970s. Prices start at £233.

The bedroom is often the most cramped room in either a house or flat which is why this can be the best place to experiment with mirrored furniture. 

The desire to preserve family harmony is another reason. The other members of your household may prefer the kitchen and living room to be slick and understated, seeing anything mirrored as excessive.

In the bedroom, however, you can indulge your decor fantasies. Habitat has the one-drawer Hepburn bedside table for £76.

Next offers the antique effect Fleur bedside table which costs £225 for the one-drawer version and £275 for the two-drawer version. 

The Fleur is also available as a six-drawer chest for £599 or a £1,150 double wardrobe if you seek to waft around your bedroom channelling your inner 1930s Hollywood screen siren. 

Dunelm’s Venetian mirrored dressing table also offers a chance to live out your dream of silver screen stardom (£449).

If mirrored furniture has brought out your party animal, kindling a passion for Art Deco in every guise, Divine Savages offers Deco Martini wallpaper whose design is based on the geometric forms, with a hidden Martini glass within the print (£150 per roll).

Some of your guests may not be too busy checking out their reflections on the doors of the mirrored cabinet to notice this subtle and witty detail in the wallpaper.

Savings of the week! water jugs… Up to 52% off 

The Sandvig hammered-glass jug from made.com is half-price at £22

The Sandvig hammered-glass jug from made.com is half-price at £22

Sitting outside on a sunny afternoon is already delightful. But it is even more enjoyable if you are sipping on a cool drink or an iced coffee from a generously sized jug, or maybe even a Pimm’s. The arrival of the July sales means bargains abound.

If you prioritise practicality, Ocado’s textured lustre plastic picnic jug has 33 per cent off at £8.

The price of the pleasingly geometric plastic smoky-grey Prism jug from Wayfair is 16 per cent off at £10.10. 

If you would like to feel as if you are in the south of France, John Lewis has the plain glass Arles wicker-wrapped jug. It is reduced from £25 to £12, down 52 per cent.

Wanting something more elegant that you can also use for flowers? The Sandvig hammered-glass jug from made.com is also half-price at £22.

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VGP acquires French logistics development

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VGP NV and VALGO signed an agreement to purchase 32 hectares of land that housed the former Petroplus refining units in Petit-Couronne, near Rouen. This brownfield rehabilitation project is fully in line with VGP’s core expertise and strategy. Thanks to the six years ownership of the site by VALGO and its expertise in asbestos removal, soil and water table decontamination, in-situ waste treatment and development, this area has now become a suitable site for the development of new industries and business activities.

 

On the banks of the river Seine and close to the A13 highway, the 32-hectare area of land offers its future users a highly strategic location. Following the extensive depollution work carried out by VALGO, the site is now ready for redevelopment. VGP expanded into France only a few months ago and is delighted to start its French business activities in the dynamic Rouen Normandy metropolis area, via this major project. In total, around 150,000m² of land are set to be redeveloped to accommodate industrial and logistics projects, with work due to begin in 2023.

 

Jan Van Geet, CEO VGP, said: “VGP is delighted to begin its business activities in France on a site as exceptional as this one, with strong economic and environmental ambitions that are shared by both our partner, VALGO, and the local authorities. As the rehabilitation of brownfield sites is at the heart of our business, this project is a great opportunity for us to deploy our industrial and logistical know-how. The uncertain geopolitical situation and the rise in transport prices mean that companies are increasingly looking for local support to start their business. In this context, we strongly believe in the relevance of our integrated model with a long-term vision. We are now eager to get to work and bring all the expertise of the Group to the project.”

 

Francois Bouche, CEO VALGO, commented: “We are delighted that this huge piece of land has been sold to a major investor with experience in redeveloping brownfields in Europe. However, I would first like to celebrate the work of the men and women who worked so hard to make this colossal project a success. It took more than 1 million hours and over €60m in investment by VALGO to turn the page on over 80 years of refining on this site, which already employs 600 people.”

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