NI garden furniture prices skyrocket, with business shipping costs rising by up to $20k

Shipping costs for garden furniture coming to Northern Ireland from China have risen by nearly $20,000, according to one Lisburn business.

Family-run garden supply store Hillmount said that along with manufacturing delays, shipping containers which usually would have cost $2,000 are now being priced as high as $22,000.

Consumer group Which? Analysed 2,000 garden furniture items and found that some are twice as expensive now than they were two years ago.

A garden shed was revealed to be 155% more expensive year on year, due to reasons including shipping, lack of available raw materials and the impact of Covid-19 on production.

One shed sold by Screwfix rose from £319.99 in July 2019 to £814.99 by July 2021.

Hillmount’s managing director, Robert Mercer said their main problem has been due to China stopping production for three months during lockdown last year as having a knock on effect on orders being delivered.

NI garden furniture prices skyrocket, with business shipping costs rising by up to k

“Containers of furniture which we ordered in August 2020 with a delivery date of April or May are now only starting to arrive at the garden centre,” he said.

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“We had one arrive last week and we are expecting another two within the next week or so. Then there’s the added headache of trying to find drivers to deliver our orders from the port to the garden centre.”

He noted that demand for garden furniture skyrocketed during the pandemic when travelling wasn’t an option, so more people wanted to revamp their own outdoor spaces.

“Although we are delighted that we have had more customers than we would normally have had in a typical summer, sadly the factors outside our control have, in some instances, not permitted us to be able to get customers their furniture and barbecues on time.”

Mr Mercer added that Hillmount has held their prices for 2021 and “absorbed the additional costs in relation to transportation, Brexit certification and manufacturing”, but from October 1 the company will have to consider pricing for 2022.

“The current additional costs can be 1p for small items but for large items like garden furniture it is just mind blowing,” he continued.

“We hope with the opening last week of Hillmount Cheshire that some of the burden of transportation and expediting customer orders on time etc will ease for us as a family business operating between GB and Belfast.”