GMB: Reporter issues warning over short toy supply for Christmas
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Summer might not be over but thoughts have already turned to Christmas for many retailers. This year’s must-have Christmas toys could run out as early as October because of a global shortage of shipping containers, manufactures and retailers fear. The scarcity of containers and lack of space on vessels transporting goods from China, combined with an increase in import costs and a shortage of UK lorry drivers means toy shop shelves could be empty of a few favourite items.
Gary Grant, Founder of The Entertainer toy shop appeared on Friday’s Good Morning Britain to discuss the issue.
News correspondent Richard Gaisford said: “There’s always that rush for the trust-have toy that parents and Father Christmas, of course, have to work particularly hard to get those presents the children really want.
“Do we think that people are going to have to be super organised this year – the Elves are going to have to be out there to work extra hard?”
Gary replied: “Definitely, I’ve been selling toys for 40 years and every year is that toy you just can’t get – whether it’s a Cabbage Patch doll, a Teletubby or a Teddy.
“But this year I think the shortages will be much more widespread.
“Now, I don’t think there will be empty toyshops at Christmas, but I do think the ranges available in toy shops will be much narrower,” he explained.
“I think people wanting specific toys for their children, grandchildren, might find it more difficult in particular, the last six-eight weeks of the year.
“We’re not trying to scaremonger, we’re just telling you what’s going on and the issues we have within the supply chain.
“But certainly, as an industry, we are ready. We have stock at the moment but we would definitely recommend consumers buying their toys early,” Gary advised.
“And I guess you could say, ‘Cynical, you’re a toy retailer, aren’t you!’ But people would turn it around the other way and said ‘Well, why didn’t you tell us there were issues?’
“This is not a toy problem, everybody who ships items from China, regardless of the commodity, is having the exact same problems with containers,” he finished.
A year ago, businesses shipping merchandise from China to the UK could be expected to pay around £1,100 per 40ft container, inews.co.uk reports.
Since then, those charges have increased and some retailers claim to have been billed as much as £22,000.
With a hike in getting the goods into the country, many toy retailers may be forced into putting their prices up.
The British Toy and Hobby Association (BTHA), which represents the toy industry said the problem was widespread.
Some businesses have attempted to mitigate the problem by stocking up their warehouses earlier than normal, but once the stock is sold, they could struggle to get hold of the most popular toys and games before Christmas.
Natasha Crookes, Director of Public Affairs and Commutations at BTHA said they “will definitely have issues with backfilling stock”.
She also said businesses will not be able to keep up with the high demand for popular toys.
L.O.L Surprise! dolls and Paw Patrol vehicles have proved extremely popular in recent years, so if there are new realise of these toys, it would not be surprising if they sold quickly.
Peppa Pig, Harry Potter and Star Wars are also the most popular licensed toy brands on the market.
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