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Hurricane to blame HIGH POINT -- Upholstery fabric has become more expensive in the two weeks since Hurricane Katrina and the Gulf Coast flooding.
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Upholstery fabric price increasingon Wednesday, August 09, 2006
Hurricane to blame

HIGH POINT -- Upholstery fabric has become more expensive in the two weeks since Hurricane Katrina and the Gulf Coast flooding.

Within two days of the storm, polyester fiber supplier DAK Americas announced a 15-cent-per-pound price increase on all its products.

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Since then, several American fabric sources have notified their customers of immediate price increases, based on higher costs of raw materials — especially petroleum-based fibers like polyester — as well as rising shipping costs related to more expensive fuel.

Price hikes vary among the fabric companies, with some choosing a flat per-yard increase and others basing any increases on the raw materials costs going into each product.

American textile executives in Brussels, Belgium, for Decosit last week said they were notifying their customers as quickly as possible.

“We’ve had notices of price increases for raw materials ranging from 7% to 12%,” said Jack Eger, vice president of sales and marketing for Craftex Mills. “Of course, that won’t translate directly into a price increase for fabric. So far, it’s fiber-specific, so we’ll do the prices based on the price increase of each product’s content. … Everybody know what’s going on and we’ll all just deal with it.”

Valdese Weavers President Mike Shelton said in a memo to customers that the company was “receiving notifications daily of immediate surcharges” on yarn, chemicals, fuel and other components. “We estimate that the current net effect on our cost is approximately 15 cents per yard,” he said, adding that Valdese would add a surcharge in that amount to all its fabrics, effective with shipments on Sept. 12.

Tom Muzekari, vice president of sales at Quaker Fabric, said that with rising prices, “The mills have no alternative but to raise prices.”

Several fabric executives said the price increases should trickle down to the consumer.

“Furniture manufacturers shouldn’t be afraid to tell consumers that a sofa might cost another $100,” said Gary Inoff, vice president of sales and marketing at Bartson Fabrics. “After all, consumers don’t hesitate to spend $40,000 on a car.”

European fabric producers were less forthcoming about possible price increases, but buyers expected to receive similar memos from them soon.

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