Shoppers urged to start spending early to avoid toy shortages
- Credit: Jess Coppins
Christmas shoppers are being urged to start buying gifts now with a stark warning from one toy shop owner of stock shortages.
Steven Scott, owner of Langleys, which has shops in Chantry Place and the Royal Arcade, said the shortages were down to the surge in delivery costs via shipping containers from China, which was being passed onto businesses and 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."
Mr Scott said his business, which has been in Norwich for 150 years, warned some toys may not be available and his shops along with other toyshops would struggle to stockpile items at the moment due to space issues.
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He added problems were also stemming from a lack of HGV drivers because many were from Europe and were not coming to work because of Brexit and warned there could be "casualties" within his industry.
The Langleys owner said shop owners may have to review where they buy items from, including looking closer to home if Chinese shipping prices did not reduce.
That sentiment was shared by Steve Kerrison, owner of family firm Kerrison Toys, which has a shop on Aylsham Road.
Mr Kerrison said: "If it makes people buy British, then fantastic."
He said the store sold a lot of puzzles made in the UK as well as Wymondham-produced Orchard Toys games.
Mr Kerrison said there were longer delays in items coming from Europe and the Far East, partly because of shipping prices, and toys related to television shows and films were taking a long time to arrive.
But he added business remained good and customers understood if items were not in stock.
* 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.