Argos has had to delay its Christmas toy sale by a week due to the supply chain crisis, its boss has warned.
Sainsbury’s, which owns Argos, said shipping delays in getting toys shipped from Asia to the UK are to blame.
Sainsbury’s chief executive Simon Roberts said: “On the general merchandise side, there are challenges there.”
The retail boss said it would normally take 24 or 25 days to get something shipped from Asia to the UK.
This can now take more than 40 days, he added.
Roberts said: “We forward-brought a lot of container capacity, so we’re confident we will get everything through that we’ve planned for. But there are some challenges
“Specifically, I would call out that we would normally run a toy promotion, which we have to delay this year.”
The Argos boss said electronic items were a particular issue due to a worldwide shortage of microchips.
Books, toys and turkeys are all facing supply chain issues and could be in short supply at Christmas, The Mirror reported last week.
Paper shortages and shipping concerns could restrict the ability to print new copies of popular titles, particularly for books ordinarily printed in continental Europe and the Far East.
Experts have explained that if books enjoyed sudden success and sold out, it could take months for new copies to reach shelves in the UK.
Demand for turkeys is also rising earlier than expected ahead of Christmas as shoppers brace for festive food shortages, experts warn.
Frozen turkey sales has almost doubled, according to analysts at Kantar, suggesting that Brits are stashing them in the freezer in case they can’t find any closer to Christmas.
Kantar also said frozen stuffing sales are up by a fifth, while Iceland said it had seen a 400% increase in turkey sales and a three-fold hike in frozen party food purchases.
Iceland managing director Richard Walker said the supermarket’s Christmas website had gone live a month earlier than 2020 following customer demand.
Food experts have told shoppers they should consider buying Christmas dinner in advance and storing it in the freezer if they want to avoid going without.
The UK also faces an issue with ports running at maximum capacity – meaning delays offloading toys and other items.
Most imported toys come through a port in Felixstowe, Suffolk, which last month had to turn vessels away.
Diverted vessels were forced to unload at ports elsewhere, including Rotterdam, Antwerp and Bremerhaven, to be later transferred to smaller ships and transported to the UK.
Shipping giant AP Moller-Maersk warned that the problem will continue until the new year.
The issue has reportedly been caused by a lack of lorry drivers, a spike in imports and Covid restrictions at ports combining in a ‘perfect storm’.
Lars Mikael Jensen, head of the east-west network at Maersk, said containers are stacking up in Felixstowe because there are not enough drivers to ‘get boxes out’.
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