Despite the fact that Christmas is still three months away, a plethora of Irish retailers have issued warnings about supply issues ahead of the busy shopping period.
Essentially, the message is to get your Christmas shopping done early in 2021 to avoid disappointment.
This situation has resulted in an Irish expert urging parents to buy their Christmas items, especially toys, earlier than usual because global shipping issues could leave many kids disappointed.
Amanda Ratcliffe, a lecturer in retail marketing and Strategy at Technological University Dublin, explained that some of Ireland’s most prominent retailers have warned of possible issues.
These are being 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 into the effects of the pandemic.
“It is a perfect storm, anything that can go wrong has gone wrong. Those effects have created huge disruptions in supply chains.
“When you massive problems in the supply chains, that will create shortages in stores. Every year, this would be a very busy time from September to Christmas.
“It is the busiest time of year for retailers. If you have something specific that you need, don’t take a chance this Christmas and get it early.”
Here’s what the main retailers have said…
Penneys has issued a warning to anybody who shops in its Irish stores after shoppers were told that they’ll have to wait for some winter fashion items in Ireland because of stock delays.
Owner Associated British Foods (ABF) said Primark was ‘experiencing some delays to the handover of some autumn/winter inventory caused by port and container freight disruptions’.
However, ABF finance director John Bason told Reuters news agency the problem was ‘about delays rather than cancellations’, adding: “All stores got this early autumn stock, we’re fully stocked and ready for the season, there will be no shortages.”
The firm added that Primark, which trades under Penneys in Ireland, is expected to see a decrease in the total amount of inventory released to stores of €235 million (£200 million) by the end of its financial year.
Supply and distribution issues have also impacted the popular toy store with global shipping issues and container shortages being cited as issues.
A Smyths Toys Ireland spokeswoman said on Tuesday: “Smyths Toys advises you to shop early for Christmas.
“This is always a good idea so as to avoid the rush and to avoid disappointment.
“It is particularly important to shop early this year as global shipping and container shortages are causing supply issues in many parts of our lives.
“We encourage you to sign up to our catalogue now or drop instore from 24th September to pick up your FREE 300 page Smyths Toys catalogue.
“This will give you the time to make those key gift decisions.”
Almost 10% of their product has become unavailable due to the difficulties in the transport and sourcing of raw materials.
Ikea has also said a rise in demand for their products over the lockdown periods has also contributed to the shortages.
A spokesperson for Ikea said: “Like many retailers, we are experiencing ongoing challenges with our supply chains due to Covid-19 and labour shortages, with transport, raw materials and sourcing all impacted.
“In addition, we are seeing higher customer demand as 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 approximately 10 per cent unavailable.
“We hope this will reduce as the situation improves in the coming weeks and months.
“Going forward, we’re constantly looking for more opportunities to secure product availability for our customers and apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.”
Marks and Spencer
The popular chain and retailer Marks and Spencer have told customers that they will not be offering their ‘Christmas food to order’ service this year.
The supermarket has emailed all shoppers to let them know the usual initiative will not be available this festive season.
However, the shop does still intend on offering all the usual Christmas must-haves on their shelves as we approach winter.
The email reads: “We’re writing to let you know that, regrettably, we’re unable to offer customers in the Republic of Ireland our Christmas Food to Order service this year.
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