A toy empire has started ordering lilos and other summer favourites because of rising shipping costs and potential stock shortages.
Jon Starling, managing director of Starlings Toys which has shops in Dereham, Holt and Sheringham, said the business was well placed for Christmas stock because it pre-ordered goods.
The toys are being stored in two warehouses in time for what is the the busiest time for the industry.
He said: “We cannot see us having a problem but it isn’t the same for everybody else.
“There are major problems in the business because containers from China are being delayed because prices have gone up for shipping. We have anticipated that and don’t have empty shelves.”
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Mr Starling urged people not to panic but said the price increases and delays in deliveries would continue into next year causing “difficulties”.
“We have placed next year’s summer order because if we don’t, items like paddling pools will be out of stock,” he added.
The managing director said it was difficult to source products from places other than China because there was often “no alternative”.
In Norwich, Steven Scott, owner of Langleys toy shops, said the shortages were down to the surge in delivery costs via shipping containers from China, which was being passed onto the consumer.
He said: “My message to people is start spreading out on Christmas spending now.
“The cost of any product coming from the Far East has gone up tenfold compared to this time last year. It is making bulky items more expensive.
“There have been further covid outbreaks in a lot of port areas in China so there is no contact with some facilities.
“November and December for the toy industry are mad months but it will be doubly bonkers this year. The pressure is going to be more evident.
“Once Christmas hits we are going to see problems in supply.”
Steve Kerrison, owner of Kerrison Toys, which has stores in Norwich and Great Yarmouth, said if the continued price rises from Chinese deliveries forced people to buy British-made products it would be “fantastic”.
* We are running a series of special reports mover the next few days on the shortage crisis and the impact on the region and its people.