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

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

A spokesman for John Lewis told the Mail Online: ‘We’re chartering a fleet of extra ships alongside a number of other businesses to ensure that we have plenty of stock for our customers this Christmas,’ – but did not comment on whether or not supply issues would lead to price rises for consumers. 

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

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

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)

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)

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)

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

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)

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

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. 

It comes as it emerged today that millions of families are facing a ‘perfect storm’ of empty supermarket shelves and an imminent hike in the cost of living of around £1,500 a year.

The toy shortage paired with soaring costs of used cars – to the extent that some are now more expensive than new models – is contributing to what is set to be a difficult end to the year for many households.

Brexit, increased gas prices and the Covid pandemic have all contributed to the crisis, which will leave families substantially out of pocket over the coming months.  

The lack of lorry drivers in recent months, along with the effects of the ‘pingdemic’ earlier in the year, has seen many shelves left bare, but now the food supply chain is up against a new challenge, after rising gas prices forced much of the country’s commercial production of carbon dioxide to shut down.

The industry describes the gas as being fundamental to producing and transporting supermarket staples like bread and meat, as well as beer and fizzy drinks.

Britain is facing up to a bleak end to the year, with a fresh threat of food shortages coming amid an imminent hike in the cost of living

A lack of lorry drivers in recent weeks, along with the effects of the 'pingdemic' in previous months, has seen many supermarket shelves left bare

A lack of lorry drivers in recent weeks, along with the effects of the 'pingdemic' in previous months, has seen many supermarket shelves left bare

A lack of lorry drivers in recent weeks, along with the effects of the ‘pingdemic’ in previous months, has seen many supermarket shelves left bare

Some fear businesses have less than two weeks before their stocks of CO2 begin to run out, with one boss describing the crisis as a ‘black swan type of event’, adding that ministers and supermarket giants were only now appreciating the knock-on effects on agriculture and production.  

Crisis talks between Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, gas producers, suppliers and regulator Ofgem are being held today to discuss the extent of the impact of the surging prices. 

Meanwhile, the Government is being urged by meat producers to step in to protect the food supply chain, after the sharp rise in gas prices resulted in a cut in the supply of carbon dioxide (CO2) to the industry.

The price of food and drink is already up on last year, amid fears the supply chain issues – which result in suppliers taking on greater costs – may see customers having to pay out even more. 

The lack of supply in many sectors comes against a backdrop of rising bills for millions of families, many of whom will still be feeling the brutal effects of the pandemic on the economy.

Experts warn today that household costs could collectively soar by more than £125 a month, putting Britons on the cusp of the biggest spending squeeze in nearly a decade. 

Money experts said a ‘perfect storm’ of price and tax hikes could push family finances to the limit across the country. 

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