Is the opperative question. If we pull our heads out of the gaming zones and army lists and have a flick through the financial pages of the paper it should be clear that there are simple, legitimate economic reasons for this happening. Indeed if you need some minis soon, buy before the price increases come.
Note the following:
(1) Inflation on a global basis is running in double digits in many countries and near record high in developing countries at around 5-6% per annum.
(2) Fuel, food and metal price increases have been extremely large due to high demand for all of these for all kinds of consumer products and due also to the gradual growth of the middle classes in China and India as well as other places. Demand increasing while supply does not leads to an increase in cost.
(3) Fuel costs obviously increase the delivery costs of products and shipping companies ARE raising their prices significantly, so that flows on to all products not only miniatures.
As high oil prices looks to be here to stay, that won't go away.
(4) Metal costs have been very high in the last year. Consider other resources. Rio Tinto and BHP (Two mining companies based in Australia) suddenly increased the price of coking coal by 85% IN ONE DAY two months ago. The raw material for minis has I think doubled in price in the last twelve months or so, the prices cannot be held down forever.
(5) Despite it all, GW is not very profitable really. We may feel they rip us off, but its not true, they are much closer to a condition of "hand to mouth" then you may imagine. Businesses incur many costs, and since most of them are paying our beloved GW staff and game designers we should accept that!
So CALM DOWN guys! This is not GW trying to make us all suffer! They are basically trapped in the present world inflation crisis along with the rest of us!
They are passing on costs, and actually doing it after some delays because pewter prices have been spiking for ages, while mini prices have gone up much more slowly!
They are really trying to keep prices within reason!
If you want to panic, it shouldn't be about your hobby! If things get a little hard you will have fewer models and will just have to spend more time painting them properly.
The real concern is if the various economic problems get worse and we have to worry about REAL problems, like losing jobs or, even (yegads!) Starting to go hungry if a real crisis in global inflation continues to unfold over the next couple of years!
Be calm, things always change and global price inflation is part of our present condition.