The British Home Enhancement Trade Association (BHETA) is reporting an upturn in member and retailer concerns over potential shortfalls in the supply of product manufactured in China, in the light of the coronavirus outbreak.
While production in Chinese factories is normally lower in January as businesses close for the Lunar New Year, with the holiday extended in parts of the country including Shanghai and Chongqing, output is taking a hit.
The resulting potential shortages of product in the housewares, garden and DIY/home improvement sectors is unlikely to become obvious in UK stores for two or three months due to shipping. But some BHETA members and retail contacts are anticipating the possibility of six or seven week gaps in supply.
BHETA chief operating officer Will Jones explained: “Not only is production bound to be affected, but the worst hit city of Wuhan plays a vital role in the global supply chain, as it is not only a manufacturing centre but also an important transport hub – and many trains have been cancelled until the end of February.
“While the Chinese Government is sounding a more optimistic note about peaks in [coronavirus] infection by the end of the month as the rate of new cases declines, international experts remain cautious.
“We are therefore advising affected members and our retail colleagues to make contingency plans in terms of product supply and to look into whether members who manufacture in the UK can help address the situation.
“Specifically, we are suggesting that retailers visit the BHETA Retailer Zone [on the BHETA website] at www.bheta.co.uk/retailer-zone which features information from all suppliers who are BHETA members across the home enhancement, home improvement and garden sectors, and provides a real-time search function by product category, by brand and by supplier. Created to enable buying teams to find practical product and supply details, as well as inspiration for future listings, it is also proving a helpful tool for finding alternative sources of items which may be temporarily in short supply.”
For more information about BHETA and its services, contact the member services team on 0121 237 1130 or visit www.bheta.co.uk.