A shortage of toys and higher prices for those on the shelves may greet Christmas shoppers this winter, with toy retailers insisting they will not be able to avoid the problems facing many other industries.
Everything from food to fireworks is on a growing list of items that companies are struggling to supply in sufficient numbers.
And with Christmas now on the horizon, those responsible for filling children’s festive wish lists are warning families to start shopping early if they want to avoid running into trouble buying those must-have items young people hope to find under the tree. December 25th.
Smyths Toys, which has stores across the country – in addition to shipping hundreds of thousands of toys to customers online – released its winter catalog filled with Christmas gift suggestions on September 24.
The company said it hopes this will help give customers as much time as possible to make “key giveaway decisions,” especially in light of lingering issues with global transportation chains.
The toy hypermarket, which sells everything from toys, games and electronics to children’s bikes and baby items, said it’s always worth considering shopping early to avoid the rush, this year, advice was more important than ever.
A company spokesperson said, “Smyths Toys advises you to shop early for Christmas. It is always a good idea to avoid the rush and avoid disappointments.
“But it’s especially important to shop early this year, as global shipping and container shortages are causing supply problems in many areas of our lives.”
Ongoing labor shortages are a major concern for the food and agricultural industries, which have warned that unless action is taken to address the issues, there will be food shortages and problems. supply chain as the country enters winter.
The ongoing fuel supply issues were initially caused by BP confirming it had to shut down a number of its sites due to a shortage of transport drivers, while last week it emerged that Bonfire Night could see a shortage of fireworks and higher prices as global shipping problems continue to wreak havoc on businesses trying to import their goods into the UK.
John Lewis is trying to recruit 7,000 people for Christmas positions this year, including a number of delivery positions to ensure goods get to customers, while a recent recruitment fair at Bluewater Mall does has not yet filled all the positions available for the next holiday season.
With one of the most important roles to play during the Christmas season, toy retailers are now also warning their customers that they are unlikely to be immune to issues affecting other businesses.
Andrew Coplestone is the founder of premium stroller supplier Play Like Mum. He expects this Christmas to be “the most difficult” he has faced in his 30 years in the toy industry.
He explained, “The shortages we have seen so far have been widely seen around the food industry and the occasional empty supermarket shelves, but that will be pale compared to the issues consumers will face as we enter. in UK’s busiest retail time this Christmas In no sector will this be more apparent than in the toy industry – with rising shipping container costs impacting everyone corners of the global toy community.
“Soaring import costs will mean narrower product lines, fewer seasonal discounts, low inventory levels and higher retail prices for potentially lower quality products. In addition, there is a shortage of drivers to deliver these products, once they finally reach Britain. “
Mr Coplestone, who encourages families to shop early and support as many independent businesses as possible, says manufacturers and retailers are in very difficult positions.
He explained, “Not only is there a huge risk that Christmas stock just won’t arrive on time, but Christmas shoppers will be faced with significantly higher prices for the same products and some manufacturers may even resort to using it. to manufacturing products from less expensive materials.
“Now more than ever, the nation is eagerly awaiting the return of a normal holiday season that can be fully celebrated, and retailers desperately need a strong Christmas to help make up for what they have lost to the Covid restrictions. However, unless shoppers plan ahead and are aware of the drastically different landscape of Christmas 2021, it won’t be a very merry Christmas for many consumers and manufacturers.
For more news on major brands and the best places to enjoy a tasty bite, go to our Eat, Drink, Buy section.