Toy store owners warn of stockouts as Christmas approaches

Toy store owner Donald Nairn has been warned to expect stockouts as Christmas approaches.

Suppliers told the Edinburgh businessman that a shortage of truck drivers, among other Brexit and Covid issues, could have an impact.

He hopes he will have plenty of Christmas stock if he places orders now.

But business groups are calling for government action.

Pressure groups in the retail and transport sectors have jointly written to UK Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, warning that the impact on supply chains is worsening.

They say a shortage of 90,000 truck drivers “is putting increasingly unsustainable pressure on retailers and their supply chains.”

Mr Nairn, who has run Toys Galore at Morningside since 2005, said nearly all of his suppliers have emailed them warning of stockouts as Christmas approaches.

“At least half of them have increased the prices they charge us and although we do our best to absorb it, there will invariably be price increases, I think, in the second half of the year. year, ”he said.

Mr Nairn said they told him they were having problems with the container ships as their prices had “multiplied”.

“They also have issues with delivery drivers and other ripple effects from Covid and Brexit,” he added.

He predicted that the shortages would be in toys from Asia because “the supply chain is so much longer.”

“We’re basically ordering as much stock as possible right now, so we have things to sell over Christmas,” he said.

“Some of the things that I foresee will be incredibly rare, like the Barbies for example.

“It’s very difficult to determine exactly where the problem is going to be, but I think if we do as much as possible now, we should be in a reasonably good position before Christmas, that said, there will be shortages.”

Similar issues are affecting brewers as well and last week the Scottish Licensed Trade Association warned that some pubs in Scotland were on the verge of running out of beer due to distribution issues.

image caption Scottish Retail Consortium’s Ewan MacDonald-Russell raises concerns before it becomes a big deal
The shortage of truck drivers was in part caused by the pandemic, when recruitment and training were halted, according to Ewan MacDonald-Russell of the Scottish Retail Consortium.

He said around 25,000 EU-national heavy truck drivers had also left the UK since Brexit.

“This is why we are seeing strange deviations appearing [on shop shelves],” he added.

“There is a bit of disruption but it’s important not to overdo it – there is a lot of supply right now but it’s getting more and more difficult all the time.

“We are raising concerns about this now before it becomes a huge issue.”

Temporary work visa

He said the industry wanted temporary work visas to be granted to EU drivers to close the gap in the short term.

They also want to see improvements in support for truck driver training and better Covid testing facilities so that drivers can be tested on a daily basis.

A UK government spokesperson said: ‘We recently announced a package of measures to help tackle the shortage of heavy truck drivers, including plans to streamline the process for new drivers to obtain their weight licenses. heavy and increase the number of tests that can be performed.

“We have also temporarily relaxed the rules on driver schedules to allow truck drivers to make slightly longer journeys, but these should only be used when needed and should not compromise safety. drivers. “

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