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Christmas shortages: Toys stuck in China as shortfall ‘nightmare’ takes hold | World | News

Retailers around the country are warning consumers that supply chain issues could make getting the Christmas essentials difficult. Earlier this week, Asda said it has been forced to charter its own cargo ship to make sure its shelves are not left bare throughout December. A lack of HGV drivers in the UK will also result in shortages of alcohol unless the Government intervenes, a group of 48 wine and spirits companies said last week. In a letter to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, businesses including Pernod Ricard, Moët Hennessy and the Wine Society said rising costs and supply chain “chaos” had held up wine and spirit deliveries, raising the risk that supermarkets will run dry and festive deliveries arrive late.

Members of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, which coordinated the letter, have reported it is taking up to five times longer to import products than a year ago, with two day orders taking more than two weeks to process.

Many of the toys and gifts that will be handed out this year will have been manufactured in China – but the country’s own problems with supply chains and worker shortages have had a ripple effect around the world.

Because China was able to handle COVID-19 outbreaks better than some neighbouring countries, a lot of manufacturers moved into the country.

But this has contributed to another problem – power outages.

As reported by The Guardian last month, China is grappling with energy shortages.

Tight coal supplies and stricter emissions standards have also led to power outages, halting production at some factories.

The newspaper spoke to Nick Mowbray, co-founder of Zuru Toys, which makes plastic dart guns out of a factory in south east China.

The company anticipated big profits of £815million this year thanks to surging demand for their products.

But Mr Mowbray discussed how the ongoing issues will cause problems for the company this Christmas.

He said: “So now we have the electricity crisis in China. It’s a huge constraint.”

Mr Mowbray also said that finding workers to sew soft toys is “a nightmare right now”, adding: “We’re having massive constraints in our plush products … all of China is facing that.”

However he also warned that a shortage of containers is affecting not just his company in China, but businesses in the UK and the US.

He continued: “Every week is a battle for us trying to get products onto vessels.”

Mr Mowbray warned that prices for toys and gifts will rise as retailers will have “no choice”.

READ MORE: Christmas shortages: The three items that could be at risk this season

He added: “Inflation is coming in a big way. There won’t be one of our brands that won’t have shortages for Christmas.”

“We are never going to be out of toys but there might not be certain toys in the market as early as there would have been.”

Inflation has already been marked by the Government as a concern for the end of 2021 and for 2022.

When announcing his Autumn Budget, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said inflation will average at around four percent in 2022.

The Bank of England’s chief economist warned that it could rise as high as five percent next year.

A typical UK family will spend £1,700 more per year on household costs in 2022, according to a forecast for BBC Panorama.

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The analysis was conducted by the Centre for Economics and Business Research, who claimed inflation could reach 4.6 percent by Christmas.

Andrew Selley, chief executive of Bidfoods, one of the UK’s biggest food distributors, warned that a perfect storm of logistical issues has made this Christmas an especially challenging one.

He told the BBC: “I’ve never known things to be as challenging as they are currently.

“Whether you’re looking at people resources, product availability, everything seems to be coming together at the moment and presents us with a very challenging set of circumstances.”

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