Suppliers of branded clothing and other promotional products have been warned to prepare for further rises in the costs of raw materials and the impact of inflation.

Carey Trevill, CEO of the British Promotional Merchandise Association (BPMA), has issued the warning to the organisation’s members, advising businesses to “manage expectations carefully”.

Last month, the Office for National Statistics reported that UK inflation reached 9% in April, the highest rate in more than 40 years, because of continuing increases in the costs of food, energy and fuel.

Carey welcomed reports of rising orders in the promotional merchandise industry due to increased demand from end users but added that companies were finding it “challenging” to deliver because of the various challenges.

“The combination of rises across materials, general costs, labour have been causing prices to fluctuate, production capacities to be challenged and with business now truly understanding the impact of increased wage costs, the industry is in a different space from anything we have seen before.

“Marry this with the real cost of living increase hitting every household, the BPMA predicts challenging times ahead.”

The BPMA, which represents suppliers and distributors of promotional clothing and other branded products, has reported several times about price “spikes” across raw materials, products and freight as well as supply delays.

“With many strains evident across the supply chain, it is clear the usual elasticity the industry has come to expect is now not always available.

“As a result, this can limit the normal responses we expect, production capabilities and prices we pay now and may have to pay in future.

“Clarity on lead times for production and delivery has never been more important as the wider industry works with the supply chain to address adjusted timeframes.”

The BPMA urged companies to communicate clearly with customers, warning them not to assume previous lead times and availability apply and that prices may not stay the same between now and the end of the year.