Retailers sound off on foam shortage

NORFOLK, Neb.-- The material that is used to make chairs, beds, and other appliances more comfortable, is in a nationwide shortage.

Back in February, all of the major producers of the chemical 'propylene oxide' which is used to make foam, shut down due to a harsh winter, and production has yet to catch up with consumer demands.

"It affected the furniture industry, probably one of the hardest industries to hit. Auto and furniture took it pretty tough there," said Deets.

During the shutdown, the major plants affected were only shut down for a few days, but it took weeks to get back up to speed even as these production plants were operating at one-hundred and twenty percent.

Kyle Deets, who is the Vice President of Deets Homestore in Norfolk, told NCN that the companies warehouse is overstocked to meet consumer demand.

"We're probably four to five, maybe six times higher than we normally carry in in-stock inventory. We're getting a truck this afternoon and that was ordered probably four and a half months ago," Deets said.

It's not just furniture companies that are being affected by the shortage, auto places, particularly RV sellers, have the same problem.

Specially ordered custom seating and the lack of supply in the face of high demand has had an inevitable impact on costs, with chemical suppliers increasing prices on seat manufacturers, leading RV manufacturers to raise their prices to buyers.

Businesses that sell items with foam are still expecting the shortage to continue into the future.

"I really don't see it getting better for at least eighteen months. I think we're pretty well set in from this industry," Deets added.

Deets also mentioned the company is already planning for the first quarter of next year because the production plants are just that far behind.