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Supply, transportation issues create ‘present pandemic’ ahead of holiday shopping season

Shortage affecting stores from mom-and-pop shops to toy giants

Between supply shortages, issues with transportation, and high demand, finding that perfect toy this holiday season may come with a challenge.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Between supply shortages, issues with transportation, and high demand, finding that perfect toy this holiday season may come with a challenge.

While the shortage started back in 2020 because of the pandemic, there has been what some are calling a perfect storm that is stopping those toys from ending up on shelves.

“For us, the holiday season normally begins in September. This year it really started in August for us just to make sure we had inventory in stock for the holidays,” explained Villa Villekulla toy store owner Theresa Duncan.

Duncan said this year’s toys will be anything sensory.

“The squishier, the gooier, the better,” explained Duncan.

This shortage goes way beyond the small mom-and-pop shops like Duncan’s.

Toy giants like Hasbro and MGA Entertainment say everyone is affected.

There has been what some are calling a perfect storm that is stopping toys from ending up on shelves. (WJXT)

“We’re probably not going to see any relief from this until June 2022,” said research analyst Hitha Herzog.

Herzog said the biggest problem the industry is facing right now is transportation issues, starting off the coast of Los Angeles where dozens of cargo ships sit with inventory waiting to be unloaded.

“Because there’s not enough people to load those ships, there’s not enough people to transport the product to these stores, retailers especially these brick-and-mortar stores across the nation are left in the lurch,” said Herzog.

President Joe Biden announced the Port of Los Angeles will move to 24/7 service, bringing it into line with operations at the Port of Long Beach, which is already working on a 24/7 schedule. Those two ports handle 40% of container traffic in the U.S.

According to a survey by professional services company KPMG, of 114 retail executives, 82% said they are somewhat or very concerned about inventory shortages thanks to a global supply chain crisis.

“Nobody is guaranteed to be able to get the big ‘it’ toy,” said Duncan.

Duncan believes big companies will likely push more advertising not necessarily for what’s best or what’s popular but for what they’re able to get.

“I really suggest that parents before they waste money on something their kids aren’t going to play with after Christmas, spend some time maybe coming into our store seeing what their kids gravitate toward or just watching their kid’s play pattern so that they make sure the toys that they get aren’t just whatever is being advertised on YouTube or where their kids are,” said Duncan.

Another reason to get your shopping done early this year is because there’s a good chance prices will go up as we get closer to the holidays.

A recent Salesforce report estimated that prices could rise as much as 20% this holiday season.


About the Author:

Lauren Verno anchors the 9 a.m. hour of The Morning Show and is the consumer investigative reporter weekday afternoons.