Here was the rumor, and here is the official press release from Sigma:
Sigma UK Press Release
Sigma increase prices due to the exchange rate.
It’s a very long time since prices in the photo/imaging market increased. Cameras and lenses fell in price until they offered incredibly good value for money. In times of recession it seems counter-intuitive for prices to rise but that’s exactly what is about to happen, mainly due to the currency fluctuations.
In December 2007, the exchange rate between the UK Pound and Japanese Yen was 235. The very weak pound and unusually strong Yen now means that the exchange rate has fallen to below 130 Yen, a devaluation of approximately 40%. Anybody who has recently been on holiday abroad will have noticed that the pound is very weak against the Euro, Dollar and Yen.
Our parent company, the Sigma Corporation, purchases raw materials in Yen and their overheads are therefore inextricably linked to the Yen and so they have been forced, in line with our competitors, to increase our supply price to reflect the exchange rate between the UK pound and the Japanese Yen. Our prices are therefore set to increase on 1st February 2009. Whilst our price increases reflect the international exchange rate movements we have made every effort, wherever possible, to absorb the price rises and minimise extra expense to the customer. Sigma, in line with our competitors, are constantly monitoring the currency market and our prices are directly influenced by exchange rates. We hope that the UK pound makes a recovery against foreign currencies however it is not altogether impossible that further price increases may be forced upon us all.
As retailers strive to beat the price increase deadline, we have seen tremendous growth in sales in January and as a result our warehouse is very low on stock. Whilst the prices of Sigma products will increase on 1st February, it may be possible for customers to purchase from their local retailers at the original prices for a limited period as long as stocks last.
Whilst these price rises are regrettable it is important to note that, as all our competitors are increasing prices to a similar degree, we still retain our reputation for offering top quality products and excellent value for money.