Updated:  19 November 2020

How accurate are the lead times stated at the time of ordering?

We check with our suppliers weekly to confirm the latest lead times – these however are only estimates and are subject to circumstances outside our control as the retailer. 

Lead times are currently considerably longer than usual and in some cases we have allowed additional time for contingency delays where we know there are additional factors affecting delivery, such as shipping delays caused by poor autumn weather.

You have now told me my order is delayed – why?

Due to the unique challenges of Covid-19, our suppliers are dealing with exceptional shortages of component parts. Supplies are erratic and sometimes suppliers order raw materials only for them not to arrive.

The high volume of orders taken since early June - as well as the reduced manufacturing capacity (by as much as 50%) resulting from social distancing in our production facilities - has exacerbated this issue.


I have heard about delays at UK ports - will that affect my order?

Over the past few weeks, on top of the raw material issues outlined above, there has been a growing crisis developing over shipping capacity to bring products of all types into the UK, as outlined in this BBC report on container delays. 

This is the result of issues caused by the major shipping lines cutting capacity earlier in the year during global lockdowns and not now having available the ships to move freight at normal levels during the very busy pre-Christmas period.  This is also being exacerbated in the UK by the end of the Brexit transition period at the end of December, as well as problems at some of the UK container handling terminals, such as Felixstowe.

The costs for shipping freight into the UK have almost doubled in recent weeks and our suppliers are working as hard as they can to secure capacity to get customer orders into the UK.  However, it is becoming ever more challenging, on a daily basis.

Container-ship

Will the situation get better soon?

This is very difficult to answer. In somecases, suppliers have found alternative sources of raw materials, but in the case of upholstery especially, a national shortage of foam is holding up production for many suppliers. Until such time as the supply chain adapts to this, we do not envisage any significant improvement – indeed, we have actually seen lead times get longer over the past 6-8 weeks as the issues in the supply chain have become more acute.

In terms of the shipping issues our supply chain faces, it is unlikely that this will return to normal for several months. We are working very hard to monitor all orders due for delivery before Christmas and will be contacting any customers affected by these unprecedented delays.

When did you know my order would be late?

We commit to contacting customers as soon as we find out that an order is going to exceed the original stated delivery time estimate – we appreciate that looking forward to your new furniture is exciting!

Given the current issues with the supply chain however, we are often only being told by suppliers that orders will be late a few days before the order should arrive into our distribution centres, rather than much earlier in the production cycle.  This is due to the delays in the ‘just in time’ supply of the raw materials - in particular foam - meaning that materials are not available for scheduled production slots.

Where shipping delays rather than raw materials is the issue, our suppliers are working to secure alternative routes into the UK, including road freighting goods through Europe, but this is time consuming, meaning additional lead time.  As soon as we are advised of delays, we are contacting affected customers.

We would urge customers to remain as patient and understanding as possible - this situation is the same for every furniture retailer in the UK and as an industry we are working hard to tackle this as fast as we can, so that as many customers receive their orders within the original delivery lead times given at time of order.

However, the latest England wide lockdown will almost certainly present fresh challenges for us all.

Thank you for your continued support.