Wednesday, the head of mega retailer Wal-Mart’s U.S. operations warned USA TODAY’S editorial board that the coming inflation is “going to be serious” and that he is seeing “cost increases starting to come through at a pretty rapid rate.”
On the manufacturing side, automotive equipment companies like BendPak Inc. have already been hit hard with a 20% spike in raw steel costs beginning in July, 2010. Despite this, BendPak Inc. was able to keep prices stable below the industry average with most products only seeing a price increase between 3% and 14%.
“BendPak’s commitment to the consumer has always been to keep quality high and costs reasonable. We saw the steel hikes coming and were able to make the necessary cuts to protect our customers from feeling the pinch,” said Jeff Kritzer, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing at BendPak Inc.
Still, industry experts say that consumer anxiety over the falling U.S. dollar could be a compounding factor in a potential double-dip recession. USA TODAY reported that inflation worries pushed the Consumer Confidence Index down by 8.6 points in March.
“What we don’t want to see is a self-fulfilling prophecy due to overreaction,” said Derek Taylor, BendPak’s Communications Director. “Social networks are exploding with the bad news but we are taking the cautiously optimistic approach.”
“BendPak is able to run a lot leaner than most people realize, mostly because we have complete control over our own factories,” said Jeff Kritzer. “We’re digging in our heels and holding the line on prices, and we can do it longer than anyone else.”