Manufacturers like Big Backyard, Dunster House, Plum and Selwood Products have spoken out online and declared “Prices Must Rise”. Unfortunately, we as the Europe’s Largest Climbing Frames and Swingset Retailer must agree. Raw material costs have increased, labour rates are spiralling and the global currency is fluctuating. And of course there are concerns with the euro. All this could result in consumers ultimately paying more. Threat of the Double Dip Recession and high unemployment levels are also having an effect on this sector, as in many cases the consumer is simply not spending. Often a family invest in outdoor play equipment when they move home and with the property market being so quiet, this again is playing a part in poor levels of sales.
On a positive note – the unseasonal weather may be the saving grace for the consumer. Having experienced potentially the wettest April on record in the UK, and now what is being quoted as the coldest May in years, UK outdoor toy sales are in poor shape and retailers seem unable to raise prices. Massive retailers like Argos and Homebase are pushing their ranges of outdoor toys, climbing frames, paddling pools, Swing Sets and trampolines in costly and high profile TV campaigns to try and ignite the consumer spend in this sector. The predicted upturn in the weather should be a welcome break for retailers as consumers finally start to focus on the garden.
With many retailers now absorbing price hikes from manufacturers, accepting a lower margin and attempting to drive sales with huge discounts and promotions. This is potentially a fantastic time for the consumer to purchase and benefit from vast savings.
ClimbingFramesUK.com Principal, Andy Beard commented “Sales so far this year have been challenging in our sector, weather has played a big part in this year’s sales performance so far, as has increased pricing from manufacturers and higher transportation costs. March weather was great, but caught us all out, and stock levels were low, as the rain approached so did the stock…typical. The whole outdoor sector – from the fencing and garden structure retailers, to the outdoor toy retailers are just waiting for summer to arrive.” The jubilee festivities, Euro Football Championship and then the London Olympics, may mean that record amounts of Brits holiday at home this year, which may just offer and extended season for all of the retailers, and some bargains for the consumer.
Look at some of the Climbing Frames UK offers here.