Massachusetts

Puzzle and Game Industry Works to Meet Holiday Shopping Crush

Supply chain woes led one company to halt orders in mid-October to ensure they could meet the demand

NBC Universal, Inc.

With less than a week to go before Christmas, some shoppers, like Danielle Wagner, are still scanning stores for gifts.

“I’m kind of doing last-minute things in person,” Wagner said in Dedham, Massachusetts, this week.

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But people hunting last-minute for games and puzzles might struggle to find what they're looking for this year, as spiking popularity and supply chain issues have made some products scarce.

“The last two years have been pretty crazy in games and toy industry based on the pandemic and people spending more time at home and spending more time with our product,” said Filip Francke, CEO of Ravensburger North America, one of the largest puzzle and games companies in the world.

Retailers sounded the alarm months ago that there could be holiday toy shortages this year because of supply chain issues. Leslie Gaydos has more.

Ravensburger is juggling supply chain issues on top of demand this holiday season.

“The normal supply chain timeline has been extended substantially, so what used to take two to three months now takes four to five months,” Francke noted.

His company made a tough choice to ensure their products were on the shelves in time for the holiday, he said.

“We told our retailers, specialty retailers, in mid-October that if they wanted to be sure to have products on the shelf, they should order from us right there and then, and we would not take more orders in November and December so that we would not sit on orders we could not deliver in time,” Francke said.

The precautions seem to be working. At a couple of local toy shops, like Henry Bear’s Park in Dedham, there were plenty of options from Ravensburger brands to be had.

Lifestyle expert Bethany Braun-Silva shares gifts that you can find in New England this holiday.

However, several Boston-area toy stores contacted by NBC10 Boston this week said they still had plenty of stock available.

"We really had a premonition that things were going to go really badly, so we ordered toys really early this year,” Magic Beans owner Eli Gurock said.

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