With less than 100 days to go until Christmas, Santa may not have time to bring some of the items on your kids' lists.
Experts are warning of a major toy shortage this holiday season, due to backups in the global supply chain. Their advice: start your shopping now to get those must-have gifts, and to avoid hefty shipping costs and delays.
Paul Sahagian, who owns the Learning Express in Needham, Massachusetts, is thankful for a recent shipment of toys.
“It’s going to be very, very tough to get stuff in this year…. The lead times have been six weeks instead of two, there’s some companies that, if you don’t order by a certain date, that’s it,” he said.
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Already, Sahagian has some bare shelf space in his Lego department, and he expects his hottest toys, Squishmallows stuffed animals and fidget toys, to sell out early this year.
“I tell them, 'Hey, look, if you see something, buy it,'” Sahagian said.
Harvard Business School supply expert Willy Shih said the American consumer has been out-buying many things, especially from Asia and China.
“You even have companies like Walmart and Home Depot who are chartering extra ships because they can’t even get space on some of those trade lanes,” Shih said.
Due to the short holiday retail season, stores are trying to get their merchandise in early, and they’re ordering more, which Shih said is making the bottleneck worse.
“Container lines are swamped, even though they’ve added excess capacity…. They’re having trouble getting enough truckers to move all those containers full of imports,” he said.
Experts also warn of an ongoing semiconductor chip shortage, which may make it harder to get video game consoles for the holidays.