Finance

Christmas balls and toys? ‘It’s coming’

Those lights, artificial Christmas trees, baubles and other decorations often come from China. Normally, shops, such as garden centers, have the lion’s share at home before October 1.

“Many Christmas shows start on time,” says Frank van der Heide of Tuinbranche Nederland. “And the stuff comes in one or two deliveries.”

This year it’s coming in in smaller parts. Customers will therefore sometimes be blunt on the shelves. But don’t worry: the items are quickly replenished. They trickle in all month long, says Van der Heide.

‘Come twice’

Just come twice is the advice to customers who are missing something. There is no mention of real shortages. “There is a lot of demand for decoration, because we want to make it extra cozy this year,” says Van der Heide.

Due to the pandemic, factories did not run at their normal pace and sometimes had to close. They are catching up, but it will cause delays, says Van der Heide. “The availability of sea containers to transport the items is limited.” And the demand for it is great.

Expensive transports

The result is extremely expensive transport. And those prices also end up on the consumer’s plate, experts think. “But at the moment it’s not that bad,” says Van der Heide. He does not expect extreme prices. “Everyone is now doing their best to get everything in the store.”

Bargain chain Action previously announced that it would ‘continue to offer the lowest price in the market’. However, in the long run this situation can also lead to higher prices for a number of articles.

The company says that there is no update on prices yet, but says that “a lot of stuff is just in the store”.

‘Just in stock’

According to Bol.com, the vast majority of the range is currently in stock. “There is little difference with last year,” says a spokesperson. However, it is uncertain how the market and demand will develop in the coming weeks. “It is possible that articles will not be available in the coming months.”

About 60 percent of the offer on the site comes from third parties. According to Bol.com, this concerns 48,000 sales partners. According to the company, this also means there is more chance of an alternative, should things run out. “We do encourage people to do their shopping on time.”

Everything in the folder

Supermarket chain Lidl, which also sells toys during the holidays, says that, like other retailers, it also suffers from the transport problems. “All available products are listed in our folder,” says spokesperson Margot van Hout about availability. The company does not want to say whether there are structural shortages of equipment.

Toy stores such as Intertoys and Lobbes.nl previously announced that they did not expect immediate shortages for the upcoming holidays, but that they did expect longer delivery times. According to experts, large items such as punching bags would become scarce. There was also an early run on more expensive gifts such as the new Playstation.

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