By Ken Ryan
Citing the unprecedented circumstances triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, mills have responded with price increases on residential carpet and other products ranging from 3% to 8% this fall. The mills attribute the increases to inflation in labor along with freight and manufacturing costs.
Mohawk said it would increase the price of residential carpet by 5% with a minimum of $0.27 per square yard, effective with orders as of Sept. 18 and shipments on or after Oct. 5.
Engineered Floors will increase the price of its Dream Weaver, Dwellings and Engineered Floors Multifamily brands by 5%–8%. EF will increase all new orders starting on Sept. 21, and any orders prior to the increase date and not shipped by Oct. 1 will increase.
The Dixie Group will raise prices by 3%-7% on its Dixie Home, Masland and Fabrica soft surface products. The price increase will be effective on new orders beginning Sept. 21 and all shipments starting Oct. 5.
“While we have maintained good service levels, our operations have been impacted with increased complexity and higher costs for labor, raw materials and transportation,” said T.M. Nuckols, president, TDG Residential. “In this new environment, these increases in cost will be with us for the foreseeable future, and we are unable to continue absorbing them.”
Shaw has not limited its increases to soft surface. It will hold current pricing through the end of October, and then increase pricing for all product categories by 5%-8%, effective with orders on Nov. 2 and shipments on Nov. 16. This increase will exclude products increased on Aug.10 due to tariffs.
Phenix announced a 4%-7% price increase on all products, effective Nov. 9. The mill said the COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to rising costs within all aspects of the industry and its business, namely labor, transportation and raw materials.
Flooring dealers were generally disappointed with the increases, saying the middle of a pandemic is no time to be raising prices. Dan Mandel, co-owner Sterling Carpet & Flooring, Anaheim, Calif., called the increases “very disheartening,” adding, “between COVID-19, tariffs and a very unstable business environment, I think a price increase was poorly timed and totally unnecessary at this time.”
Ashlie Butler, president of Bob’s Carpet & Flooring in Tampa, was disheartened. “The mills are raising prices during a pandemic and in an election year, when the customer won’t shop,” she told FCNews. “This is the worst possible time. I take this as a complete insult. My loyalty to these mills has gotten me nowhere. They raise prices and have the opportunity to make their money back during the pandemic. They weren’t the only ones who went through this. They are forgetting about the people who are selling their products and won’t have the opportunity to catch up because of this price increase.”
A.J. Boyajian, co-owner of A.J. Rose Carpet & Flooring, Burlington, Mass., also questioned the timing. “I understand why the mills are doing it, but I feel it would have been much more appropriate to pass a price increase on once we are past this pandemic rather than during it,” he said.
Others were more accepting of the increase, but still had concerns. “For us, in a growth area, it will be easy to pass the price increase on to customers on special order items,” said Kevin Frazier, owner of Frazier’s Carpet One Floor & Home, Knoxville, Tenn. “But even for us, as it relates to our in-stock sales, I am nervous about the chilling effect this price increase might have.”
Mike Foulk, owner of Foulk’s Flooring America, Meadville, Pa., observed that the carpet increase is coming at a time of other similar increases. “[As such,] I think the carpet increase will be passed along without much pushback from the consumers as they are seeing the cost of everything increasing.”
Adam Joss, co-owner of Columbia, Md.-based The Vertical Connection Carpet One, said he views the increases as a necessary evil. “Three things in life are guaranteed…death, taxes and price increases. I fully understand the justification for the increase. As always, we’ll factor them in and continue to work to provide our clients with an unbeatable value.”