Daily Mail

Toy shortage? Plan for Xmas now!

- By Sean Poulter Consumer Affairs Editor

IT may still be summer, but families were warned last night to buy toys for Christmas now to avoid tears under the tree.

The Covid-related disruption to global shipping that has left supermarke­ts without some product lines also threatens to affect deliveries of toys from China, where most are made.

Perhaps to get parents in the mood for an early spree, grocers are selling mince pies – more than three months before Christmas.

Toys expected to be a hit this year include Lego sets, including its Elf Club House, at £84.99. Lego is also selling Advent calendars featuring Star Wars and Marvel characters.

Batman vs Superman Scalextric cars for £39.99 are also likely to be popular, as well as the Ravensburg­er Planetary Solar System 3D jigsaw puzzle, at £39.99, and soft toys such as the Hoppie Rabbit with Audio Play, at £29.99. The warning about the need to stock up comes from NPD, a business analytics firm.

Frédérique Tutt, its global toy industry expert, said: ‘Shortages are a big concern for most makers. With anticipate­d supply chain shortages and resultant price increases on the cards, people need to shop early.

‘Retailers and brands are trying to bring their stock shipments forward, but are expecting shortages to hit well before Christmas.’

In addition to shipping issues, the UK is said to be short of 90,000 HGV drivers, triggering fears that gaps on shelves will get worse.

However, the early crop of mince pies might cheer up some shoppers – even if it does infuriate traditiona­lists.

The Central England Co-op, which has shops across the middle of the country from West Yorkshire to East Anglia, said it had begun selling mince pies after customers asked when they’d become available.

It said: ‘They also want to stock up ahead of any potential food shortages.’

Packs of mince pies have also been spotted at some Asda and Iceland outlets.

Natalie Smith, of Central England Co-op, said: ‘For months, colleagues have been inundated with requests for when Christmas products will be on sale, especially mince pies.

‘While we know that hearing about anything festive related this early is not for everyone, for some they cannot wait.’

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