United Kingdom

Christmas toy shortage fears as retailers say time it takes to ship stock from Far East has DOUBLED

Parents are being warned of toy shortages this Christmas as companies are hit hard by crippling supply chain issues - including a lack of HGV drivers and severe congestion at trading ports.  

With less than 100 days until December 25, giants including John Lewis have chartered extra ships in a bid to secure more products while high street favourites like Waterstones have ordered more stock than usual - and earlier - in a bid to get ahead of the crunch. 

It comes as the London Toy Company said the time taken to get its products from a factory in the Far East to its warehouse in Essex had doubled. 

Meanwhile, due to an ongoing shortage in Asia, the cost of containers has soared tenfold.

The retailer warned that price rises will be inevitable, reported BBC Radio 4, while the Toy Retailers Association said shoppers may struggle to find the goods they would expect to come December.

It comes after the chief commercial officer of the The Entertainer Geoff Sheffield urged parents Thursday to be prepared if they wanted to avoid disappointment. 

He told Good Morning Britain (GMB) how demand for shipping containers started soaring at the start of the pandemic, due to the global need for PPE equipment.

'Since then, we've never been able to replace that, those number of containers, so there's been a shortage,' he said.

With less than 100 days until December 25, giants including John Lewis have chartered extra ships in a bid to secure more products while high street favourites like Waterstones have ordered more stock than usual - and earlier - in a bid to get ahead of the crunch

The London Toy Company said the time taken to get its products from a factory in the Far East to its warehouse in Essex had doubled (file photo)

Shoppers may struggle to find the goods they would expect to come December, warned the Toy Retailers Association (Pictured: Hamleys Toys in London)

'Combine that with lockdowns in ports because of Covid outbreaks, lockdowns in factories because of Covid, the demand not subsiding since lockdown.

'Consumer demand continues to be high within the toy industry and as a result, the demand on those space on ships has not subsided.

'Therefore, we're seeing delays and ever increasing costs on getting costs on the water to the UK in good time.'

Mr Sheffield confirmed that a lack of HGV drivers was also having an impact, which means shops are struggling to push out any goods that do manage to arrive.

The shortfall of around 100,000 drivers in the UK stems from a combination of Covid restrictions and backlogs of tests, along with Brexit.

Chief commercial officer of the The Entertainer Geoff Sheffield urged parents Thursday to be prepared if they wanted to avoid disappointment (file photo)

Scores of drivers have remained on the continent after the Brexit transition was completed.

In a warning to parents, Mr Sheffield added: 'The reason why we're talking to you today is to make sure our customers at The Entertainer, who we love and have been welcoming back since stores reopened, understand [to] plan early and if you see it, buy it.

'The reality is, we're running out of days to get things onto the water and in time to the UK.'

He added: 'My advice definitely is to get out early. The sort of things that you would expect to be popular have been popular all year. Things like Barbie, L.O.L.

'Then you need to look at some of the movie content we've had recently, the Paw Patrol movie that is doing really well.'  

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