Retailers are reporting that delays at UK ports have had a serious impact on their ability to sell products.
Two retailers told BBC that there is a shortage in official Harry Potter merchandise.
The pandemic began after Brexit. Combining both of these, manufacturers became scared, and their work was stopped, and large containers couldn’t be shipped by sea,” Elvijs Popis, coowner of House of Spells, an online fandom collectible shop based in Charing Cross (London), says.
“A Harry Potter wand used to be £20, now it’s going to be £35-£40. The stock is running low in all the shops.”
He says that it is currently hard to find many of the wands, official replicas of movies, and clothing merchandise.
Plugis said that House of Spells now focuses on fandoms other than Harry Potter. However, the company is continuing to buy as many Harry Potter-related product lines as possible.
“Today, at 8am in morning, we received calls form Platform 9″ and 3/4 Shop [in Kings Cross Station]Referring customers when stock runs out,” he said.
House of Spells typically makes 20-30% profit on every wand that it sells. However, the shop now has to pay 25-30% more in shipping costs and up to 30% on customs fees.
Plugis says, “At this time we haven’t raised prices. We don’t know when it will be possible however.”
London Toy Company imports Harry Potter toys and designs British-themed toys. It has sold all its Harry Potter stock.
According to Joel Berkowitz, director of London Toy Company, container prices have risen 900%.
It now holds 35,000 toys at ports and is worth 25% of a half million pounds.
He says, “We had to divert containers carrying around 10,000 toys that would have been going straight to Felixstowe to Tilbury Port, London via France and Belgium.”
It’s adding 2.5-3 weeks to the timeframe [of when customers will receive products]”
London Toy Company produces toys for many brands, including JCB, JCB, and the London Underground.
At the moment, clients such as Amazon and Harrods are waiting for orders to order toys.
Berkowitz says, “We have to absorb these extra costs as much and take a hit in our margin.”
We’re not allowing clients to pay more than a certain amount for products, therefore we are limiting the price of each product by 10%.
Toytown is an independent retailer based in Belfast and Alan Simpson is the managing director. He encourages customers to get started on Christmas shopping this year.
According to him, “If you want to find choice, don’t expect to visit December to see what you would typically experience in a toys store.”
“I’ve been in the business for 42 years.” [but]It’s hard to remember ever experiencing such difficult situations as we have.
Toytown might be able preempt price rises in order to mitigate them but it is not a solution. The problem affects all retailers.
Simpson refers to an example: A toy truck used for construction was 70p to ship to the UK from Far East in October 2020. Today, it costs £7 to ship.
The truck currently sells for £15, but he says the price will need to rise soon, as almost half of the retail price is now taken up by shipping costs.
“All suppliers will need to raise their prices again come January. [already]He says that they have increased their prices in August, June and July this year, stressing the effect inflation may be having.
They feel the difference because they are getting the same product as us.
Another retailer that relies on product being produced on the opposite side of the globe is also gravely worried, including Houseof (London-based lighting company).
The firm says it is now being charged £14,000 per container – double the price last year, and seven times the cost compared to prior to the pandemic.
Houseof cofounder Michael Jones said, “Our containers now being redirected towards the northern ports as Southampton Felixstowe London Gateway are all congestion with static empty containers.”
This significantly increases road transportation costs.
Houseof also had to reserve road transport for goods five weeks ahead of time, often even before the container leaves China.
His statement states that “Given it takes between 60-90 minutes to produce an ordered, we are paying for slow communications and poor forecasting.”
“Orders placed with retailers partners are the same as last year. However, overall stock stocks are significantly lower. This will impact our ability to enter the peak season.