- The UK has recently solved its food shortage problems, but the retail sector alone still faces similar obstacles in planning for the end of the year.
- Currently, the most affected items in the UK are toys, followed by bicycles and home appliances.
- The problem of lack of goods in the UK was significantly affected when the UK announced that it would not recruit more drivers in the EU.
Retail industry faces big obstacles
The UK has recently solved its food shortage problems, but the retail sector alone still faces similar obstacles in planning for the end of the year.
The founder of The Entertainer Gary Grant, who operates more than 170 toy stores in the UK, said: “Inflation of goods, high shipping costs, logistics bottlenecks and factory shutdowns are the problems we are facing, which I’ve never seen this in more than 40 years of toy sales.”
“Our Christmas stock is arriving about eight weeks behind compared to the year. Even airfreight is useless because of the reduced capacity on passenger flights. At the same time, anti-epidemic measures applied at many Chinese airports have reduced productivity and increased costs”, continued Mr. Grant.
Currently, the most affected items in the UK are toys, followed by bicycles and home appliances. Electronic goods are less affected in shipping but lack semiconductor chips.
What are the causes of these obstacles?
According to analysts, the cause of the supply chain disruption is that some of China’s major container ports had to close due to the Covid-19 epidemic and the recent incident at the Suez Canal. The rising freight rates put more pressure on suppliers as well as buyers.
In addition, the problem of lack of goods in the UK was significantly affected when the UK announced that it would not recruit more drivers in the EU. Currently, British officials have always opposed the proposal to add truck drivers to the list of shortage occupations. If this proposal is applied, non-British nationals can work here and reduce the burden of about 100,000 drivers.
Mr. Andrew Opie, working at the British Retail Consortium, said retailers have taken all necessary measures to minimize possible disruption, including increase in driver’s salary, finding alternative routes to deliver goods, etc.
According to representatives of major retailers, this year’s Black Friday will be quite similar to previous years, but customers will have less choice for items because this year’s products will not be as rich as every year. Even retailers that are less reliant on Christmas, like DIY group Kingfisher, are worried about shipping next year.