Worcester toy store warns shortages could empty shelves this Christmas

A Worcester toy store has urged shoppers to hit the high street earlier if they want to avoid a festive disappointment this year.

It comes after major toymakers warned Britons they could face shortages this Christmas after the UK’s biggest container facility reached capacity, forcing ships to turn around .

Shipping giant AP Moller-Maersk has had to redirect ships away from the port of Felixstowe, Suffolk, as containers continue to pile up amid growing delivery problems.

The problems are believed to have been caused by a lack of lorry drivers, a surge in imports and Covid-19 restrictions causing a perfect logistical storm.

And Nicola Clarke, the manager of Toytown in the Crowngate shopping centre, said the industry had already started to feel the effects of the shipping crisis.

She said: “We’ve had trouble getting some toys in before.

“We were very lucky because our boss heard about it pretty early on, so he placed a big order for all the Christmas toys, so our warehouse is pretty stocked.

“But he still fears that in December there could still be a lot of things he still can’t get.”

Although many stores are scrambling to secure stocks of some bestsellers such as LEGO, Ms Clarke said the crisis has limited the availability of various toys.

And she also predicted that the limited availability will trigger an early wave of festive shopping.

“It’s a bit general, I know LEGO has been mentioned, but we just had a big delivery of LEGO,” she added.

“But again, we think we might run out of some types of LEGOS by December.

“It touched us a lot. We just had a big LEGO delivery but so far we’ve had almost nothing, it’s taken us this long to get it.

“We may be able to keep our shelves stocked, but customers may not have the choice they normally have until December.

“So I think the main rush is going to be more November this year rather than December.”

Industry figures suggest the cost of securing a shipping container has risen exponentially since last year, with prices today ten times higher than 12 months ago.

And Ms Clarke predicted that rising prices lower in the supply chain could spill over to the high street.

“I know there have been shipping issues and shipping prices have gone up as well,” she continued.

“There are so many toy issues that we really have to hope for the best.

“Prices can go up because of this, and it will be widespread, because if it’s more expensive to bring the toys in, it will affect us all.”

Tim Evans, of Toys and Games Of Worcester, Broad Street, said he had managed to get all his Christmas stock in as usual, however he noticed deliveries were more fragmented.

He said: “Others may have shortages, but not Toys & Games Of Worcester.

“The best toys always sell out, whether it’s a Buzz Lightyear, Tracey Island or a Furby, and this year will be no different.

“Demand is very high for top toys, and this year there are probably more top sellers than normal.

“Most of our inventory is delivered in mid-October, this has been achieved this year as usual, but deliveries have been fragmented.”

Mr. Evans also gave an overview of what he thinks are this year’s top sellers.

“The best Christmas toys will be LEGO, Pokémon and board games – we have plenty of them,” he added.

About Lola C. Chapman

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