A Belfast toy store owner has warned people to start Christmas shopping earlier this year as supply chain issues mean families could end up running out.
Craig Stafford of Seventh Dimension and MK Toys and Books on the Belmont Road spoke about the issues facing stores across Northern Ireland due to persistent supply chain issues.
He said the main problem was the lack of delivery drivers, which resulted in goods being stuck at customs for much longer than normal.
Craig added, “Basically the problem is that there aren’t enough drivers available to make the necessary deliveries.
“We have been told that the last delivery to us before Christmas will be in mid-November and then we will not be able to restock in stock until the New Year.
“If it was six months ago I would say Brexit was a factor because there were issues getting the items through customs but it seems to have sorted itself out and now the problem is that the deliveries now remain at customs and are not picked up on time due to lack of drivers.
“It’s been like this for a few months and it has been a real challenge to obtain stocks from Europe, Japan and America. Popular items such as Playmobil, Lego and Pokemon toys have all been hit and may well be in short supply this year.
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Craig said the impact of the coronavirus pandemic also played a role this year, as some manufacturers have not produced at the same levels as before.
He added: “In some ways we are now seeing the effects of the first lockdown, as productivity in manufacturing was not at the same levels and although it was not really noticed last Christmas, we are starting to see it. see now. ”
Craig said that if there is a certain gift that you are looking to give someone this year, it will be essential to get out early and start shopping.
He added: “If you leave your races too late this year, you might be disappointed. If there is something that you really want to buy from someone, I will go out ASAP and try to make sure you can get it because there will be no guarantee that what you want will be. available in December.
The warning came after Alan Simpson of the Toytown store in East Belfast told BBC customers that toy prices would rise this year due to shipping costs.
He said: “This is a reality that we are facing. Toys are flowing, but not at the rate we’d like to see them flowing at this time of year. So there will be challenges just to get the specific toy you are looking for.
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