Although Christmas is still three months away, a plethora of Irish retailers have issued warnings of supply issues ahead of the busy shopping season.
Essentially, the message is to do your Christmas shopping early in 2021 to avoid disappointment.
This has led an Irish expert to urge parents to buy their Christmas items, especially toys, earlier than usual as global shipping issues could disappoint many children.
Amanda Ratcliffe, lecturer in marketing and retail strategy at Dublin University of Technology, explained that some of Ireland’s biggest retailers have warned of possible problems.
These are caused by a shortage of containers and transport delays.
Ratcliffe told Claire Bryne on RTE Radio One on Wednesday: “This is not a normal year, almost two years after the effects of the pandemic.
“It’s a perfect storm, anything that can go wrong has gone wrong. These effects have created enormous disruption in supply chains.
“When you have massive supply chain issues, it will create shortages in stores. Every year it would be a very busy time from September to Christmas.
“It’s the busiest time of year for retailers. If you need something specific, don’t risk it this Christmas and get it early.
Here’s what major retailers have to say …
Penneys has issued a warning to all who shop at its Irish stores after shoppers were told they will have to wait for certain winter fashion items in Ireland due to backlogs.
Owner Associated British Foods (ABF) said Primark “was experiencing delays in handing over some fall / winter inventory due to disruptions in port and container freight.”
However, ABF chief financial officer John Bason told Reuters news agency the problem was “delays rather than cancellations,” adding: “All stores have this early fall stock, we are fully stocked and ready for the season, there will be no shortage. ”
The company added that Primark, which trades under Penneys in Ireland, is expected to see a decrease in the total amount of inventory released in stores by 235 million euros (£ 200 million) by the end of its fiscal year.
Supply and distribution issues have also impacted the popular toy store, with global shipping issues and container shortages being cited as issues.
A spokesperson for Smyths Toys Ireland said on Tuesday: “Smyths Toys advises you to shop early for Christmas.
“It’s always a good idea to avoid the crowds and avoid disappointments.
“It’s especially important to shop early in the year, as global shipping and container shortages cause supply problems in many areas of our lives.
“We encourage you to sign up for our catalog now or drop by in store starting September 24 to pick up your FREE 300 page catalog of Smyths toys.
“This will give you time to make those key giveaway decisions. ”
Almost 10% of their product has become unavailable due to difficulties in transporting and supplying raw materials.
Ikea also said an increase in demand for their products during lockdown periods also contributed to the shortages.
An Ikea spokesperson said: “Like many retailers, we face ongoing challenges with our supply chains due to Covid-19 and shortages of labor, transportation, materials. raw materials and supply are all affected.
“In addition, we are seeing increased customer demand as more and more people are spending more time at home. ”
The spokesperson adds: “As a result, we are experiencing low availability in some of our ranges, with around 10% downtime.
“We hope that this will decrease as the situation improves in the weeks and months to come.
“In the future, we are constantly looking for more opportunities to ensure product availability for our customers and we apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. ”
Marks and Spencer
Popular chain and retailer Marks and Spencer have told customers they will not be offering their “Christmas food to order” service this year.
The supermarket has emailed all shoppers to let them know that the usual initiative will not be available this holiday season.
However, the store still intends to carry all the usual Christmas must-haves on its shelves as winter approaches.
The email reads: ‘We are writing to let you know that unfortunately we are unable to offer our customers in the Republic of Ireland our Christmas food service on order this year.
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