'If you see it, get it': Shoppers urged to buy Christmas presents early

Parents are being urged to get their Christmas toy shopping done early amid fears of ongoing supply chain problems.

The warning comes with many industry experts expecting delayed deliveries to impact on supermarkets and the high street in the run-up to Christmas.

The owner of one of the region’s independent toy shops said she has been building up stock in recent weeks to make sure they are prepared for the festive period – but has still encouraged parents not to leave it to the last minute.

Alley Katz in Bridgnorth is run by 26-year-old Jessica Preston, and she said they had not been leaving anything to chance. She said: “We are fully stocked. We have been overbuying so anything we can get that we know will be ‘in’ or good for Christmas sellers we are stocking up on. We have got boxes and boxes of stock and we are hoping it will last us through Christmas.”

But Jessica urged parents not take any risks, and make sure they get in there early if they are chasing specific requests.

She said: “If you see it, get it. If you think something is going to be popular just buy it because you won’t get it closer to Christmas.”

Jessica said that there had not been a big impact on shipments yet, but some had seen delays.

She said: “We have had a few deliveries taking longer. We have one where it is a couple of weeks rather than a few days. It’s not too bad and most of them are okay.”

Jessica said traders were hoping for bumper sales in the run up to Christmas, to make up for a stop start 18 months, and last year’s more cautious approach from festive shoppers.

Alley Katz toy shop has been stocking up for Christmas

She said: “Customers have started Christmas shopping which is good. They started probably a month ago so earlier than usual and it is nice that people are looking to support local independent shops. Last year we were just open but it was quite a stressful Christmas but this year we are hoping for a more normal Christmas.”

Across the country other firms have warned about potential shortages of in-demand toys in the run-up to Christmas because of delays in delivery.

Robert Gliddon, the owner of Gliddons Toy Shop in Sidmouth, Devon, said there would be shortages and price rises.

He said: “It’s not just shortages, you’ve got to face the reality of price rises, anything from 10 per cent to 15 per cent on anything from across the seas.”

He advised consumers: “If you see it, buy it, and be prepared to pay more before Christmas.”

The boss of a shipping company in the west Midlands has also urged shoppers against panic buying ahead of Christmas.

Anton Gunter, managing director of Global Freight Services, warned that while a number of issues were currently affecting supply chains in the UK, panic buying would do more harm than good.

“A combination of challenges such as Brexit, the Covid pandemic and ongoing driver shortages in the haulage sector are all contributing to delays at ports and longer delivery times for goods. This is on top of the normal delays we would see at some British ports around this time of year,” said Anton.

Managing director of Global Freight Services, Anton Gunter, says panic buying will make things worse

“However, we’ve seen what happens when people turn to panic buying — as with the recent fuel shortages — and we would certainly urge against shoppers stockpiling groceries and Christmas presents as this only leads to huge unnecessary supply and demand issues on a day-to-day basis.

“Instead, it would be more prudent for people to plan, be prepared and manage expectations this Christmas season.

“We know this might be difficult but as government ministers have pointed out, there will be more than enough gifts and food on the shelves for everybody.

“If we all buy responsibly and carefully, then we can support each other this festive period. Also, let us not forget that there is an abundance of small, local independent businesses here in Shropshire that are producing so many wonderful gifts.

“We need to support these businesses this Christmas. After such a long and difficult period of trading, buying locally will help to restore our economy here in Shropshire.”

Global Freight Services, based near Telford, has 25 years of experience supporting businesses to move goods around the globe.

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