The chief of one of the UK’s largest toy retailers has warned there will be reduced choice of toys at Christmas as a result of supply chain disruption and severe labour shortages.
Gary Grant, founder of The Entertainer, told BBC’s Today programme prices for toys are likely to rise sharply as retailers act to protect margins thinned by rising shipping costs.
“You are going to see some inflationary pressure, and retailers are working hard to hold those down,” Grant said.
Grant pointed to a near sevenfold increase in the cost of shipping from China as evidence that prices for toys are likely to rise in the coming months.
“Not all stock we have is being shipped at the very latest container rates, so I think it will probably see 18 months for those prices to flow through to a significant change at retail, which might be a 10% increase over an 18-month period.”
The toy industry has been urging customers to buy stock now to avoid missing out at Christmas.
“You will find that there won’t be toy shops with empty shelves, like there are supermarkets with empty shelves on a Saturday afternoon,” Grant said.
Grant’s remarks come as many sectors of the UK economy are struggling to deliver normal services due to shortages of key materials and workers.
McDonald’s has stopped serving milkshakes in England, Scotland and Wales, while Greggs has said it is suffering from a shortage of its chicken bites.
Data from the Confederation of British Industry shows retailers’ stock levels are currently the lowest on record.