By Reginald Tucker
Earlier this month AHF Products announced it will increase prices on hardwood products in the U.S. and Canada averaging 4%-6%, effective Oct. 19. The increase will impact select solid and engineered products across AHF brands, including Bruce, Robbins, Hartco and Capella.
“During the pandemic, AHF was very disciplined at continuing to buy lumber and producing products that allowed us to fully service the business,” said Chris King, vice president of sales. “In recent months, we have seen constraints on labor, materials and transportation that impact operating costs. Despite our best efforts to offset inflation with improved productivity, the cost increases continue to outpace our initiatives.”
Florstar Sales, a top-20 distributor that carries the Bruce, Hartco and Capella brands, said it plans to push those hikes up the chain. “We would need to pass this and any similar such increases and intend to do so once we have the necessary details from our suppliers,” said Scott Rozmus, president and CEO.
The company is also waiting to see if other wood suppliers in its lineup plan to follow suit. “Thus far, among our vendors, we’ve only seen the recent announcement from AHF regarding their pending increase,” he added. “I believe other manufacturers are evaluating their positions in response to the same market factors driving AHF’s decision and announcement.”
AHF Products said it plans to work closely with its distributors and retailers to ensure they remain competitive. “We are incredibly grateful for the loyalty and support of our distributor and retail partners,” King added. “We are committed to helping our customers grow their business through superior service, high-quality products and high-style flooring at competitive prices.”
AHF Products is not the only supplier raising hardwood prices this fall. In a recent letter to its customers, Shaw Floors said it plans to raise prices across all product categories by 5%-8%, effective with orders on Nov. 2 and shipments on Nov. 16. Note: This increase will exclude products increased on Aug. 10 due to tariffs. Shaw Floors sources much of its hard- wood flooring products from Macon, Ga.-based Beasley Flooring Products.
Mohawk Industries, which recently announced price hikes on its residential carpet offerings, declined to comment on this story.
Mullican Flooring is considering a price increase in the first quarter of 2021, according to Pat Oakley, vice president of vice president of sales and marketing, “in response to rising labor and material supply costs within manufacturing.”
Other major hardwood flooring manufacturers across North American are taking a wait-and-see approach. “We did see the announcement from AHF Products, and we are evaluating the situation,” Luc Robitaille, vice president of sales and marketing, Mercier Wood Flooring, told FCNews. “If any changes occur we will provide our network with plenty of time to adjust.”
Other Canadian hardwood suppliers are holding firm. Paul Rezuke, vice president of U.S. sales for Wickham Hardwood Flooring, said there are no plans to raise prices at present, although he acknowledged the impact that COVID-19 is having on labor and raw materials. Boa-Franc, maker of the Mirage brand, released a similar statement saying, “We don’t have any announcements for 2020, and we are analyzing our pricing strategy for 2021; that won’t be complete for a few months.”
Somerset Hardwood Flooring, a major local producer, is on the fence. “Right now, we have no immediate plans to raise prices, but we will watch the market closely, see what other manufacturers do and then make the best decision we can based on all the information we have—not only for Somerset, but for our loyal distribution and retail network as well,” said Paul Stringer, vice president of sales and marketing. “We will work closely with them to establish a win-win approach to pricing going forward.”