The long wait for the new kitchen

The furniture trade is booming. In addition to kitchens, thousands of square meters of parquet floors are missing. The price development is “brutal”

Choosing, buying and laying parquet flooring: Sounds easy, but it isn’t. Because the wood prices have recently gone through the roof and the availability of the wood is in the basement.

“When it became evident that many types of wood were becoming scarce, retailers tried to protect themselves and stock up,” explains Christian Wimmer, Managing Director of Service&More, a purchasing and service organization in the Austrian furniture retail trade. The dealers have of course further exacerbated the availability problem. And prices kept going up. “The spiral has been happily turning since 2021,” says Wimmer, whose member companies laid a total of 600,000 square meters of parquet last year. “An increase of 32 percent compared to the already very strong year 2020.”

Missing floors

Service&More/Felix Büchele
Christian Wimmer: “When it became evident that many types of wood were becoming scarce, the dealers tried to protect themselves and stock up.”

Which does not change the fact that new buildings in Austria are not finished because the timber industry cannot keep up with the delivery. “And if something is available, then often at completely unacceptable prices,” says Wimmer, outlining the practical problem.

Specialist retailers are virtually lost in orders during the pandemic. The nearly 300 Service&More partners increased their sales by 17 percent to almost 550 million euros net last year. Despite lockdown and 2G controls. “The specialist trade is doing well overall. People care about trust and added value locally,” says Wimmer.

And sometimes honest announcements. Because if you order a kitchen today, you can expect long waiting times. Waiting times of ten weeks used to be normal, today it takes twice as long for the kitchen to be ready. And then often with replacement devices because the ordered goods are only delivered later. According to Wimmer, there is no relief in sight for the time being, he estimates that the supply chain problems will continue to accompany the industry throughout the year.

Many orders, little profit

“The issues of prices and supply chains are very challenging for us,” agrees Georg Emprechtinger, Chairman of the Austrian furniture industry. The price development was recently “brutal”. There would have been delivery problems everywhere – with wood, metal and chips that are built into more and more furniture controls. Nevertheless: The production volume of the domestic furniture industry increased by 16 percent to 1.84 billion euros in the first three quarters of 2021, which is also due to the weak previous year.

Unsurprisingly, kitchens (+20 percent) and bathrooms (+12 percent) are at the top of the list of the segments with the strongest growth. Nevertheless, there can be no talk of exuberant profits for many manufacturers, says Emprechtinger. “Even if the incoming orders increase, the prices in purchasing gallop away.” Incidentally, the export quota of the Austrian furniture industry is 45 percent, but the import pressure is also increasing – especially from Germany, Poland and China.

By Editor

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