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Shop early this Christmas warns boss of local toy company

BOSSES at Hippychick, a Bridgwater toy retailer focussed on the pre-school market in Somerset, are warning parents to start their gift-buying as early as possible this Christmas due to anticipated toy shortages. 

Jeremy Minchin, the company’s joint managing director, said: “The pandemic, coupled with Brexit, has created a perfect storm out at sea.

“Shipping containers not being in the right place at the right time, port closures caused by Covid, and a lack of lorry drivers at UK ports are creating a recipe for disaster when it comes to choice and availability of popular toys this Christmas.”

Mr Minchin says the demand for shipping containers has inflated prices ten-fold in recent weeks.

He added: “This time last year, we were paying £1,600 per shipping container. We are now paying a staggering £17,000. Clearly some of these costs are going to have to be passed on somewhere down the line as if we were to shoulder them all, we’d all go bust overnight.

“Bulky toys, that take up lots of room on board, are going to be in shortest supply. We’ve thought ahead and stocked up on these large items at the beginning of the year and before the cost of shipping went through the roof.

“But we simply can’t guarantee any more stock and even if we do get another delivery, it will have to be subject to price increases. The bottom line is that when what we have in stock is gone, it’s well and truly gone.

“So, if you’ve got your heart set on any of our Christmas best-sellers such as a ride on a Wheelybug, a Tembo Nattou Rocker, a Trybike Balance Bike or an iconic Moover Pram, you need to act now.

“A last-minute dash to the high street on Christmas Eve just isn’t going to cut it this year as shelves may very well be empty.

“The only products we may be able to re-order before Christmas are the small ones, where we can get the volume on the board.  But of course, there are still no guarantees they will reach our warehouse in time for the big day.

“We’ve been in business for 22 years and never has the Christmas season presented such a challenge. But we’re determined to ride the storm and get through it to the best of our ability and are doing our utmost to fulfil our obligations to customers.”

Copyright © 2019 Sedgemoor Apple