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Key questions answered as Brits urged to order now ahead of Christmas shortages

Experts say supplies of Christmas toys and gifts will be “materially constrained” this year, with one predicting that Black Friday and January sales will be muted

Getting your orders in early may prove to be a wise move

Wannabee artist Boris Johnson may paint a picture that shortages are no big issue – but thousands of firms say otherwise.

They are battling staff and stock shortages but have so far largely shielded customers.

It’s why supermarkets are, on the whole, fully stocked. Yet the gaps are appearing. There will be smaller ranges, a bit less choice, and some products going out of stock.

It’s about time the PM showed proper leadership and took action.

What products are in short supply?

Everything from fizzy drinks and certain fresh produce to new cars.

What is causing these major issues?

There’s a variety of reasons, some related to the Covid crisis, others worsened by Brexit.



Christmas could be a little leaner this year
(

Image:

Steve Reigate Daily Express)




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Among the most pressing is a lack of HGV drivers – put at 100,000 – caused by a combination of long-term poor pay and conditions, delays in driver training because of the pandemic, EU drivers going home because of Brexit and tax changes.

This shortage of truckers is the main reason for logjams at ports, with shipping containers left sitting on the dockside. Firms waiting for the shipments are being hit twice, with “rent” while the containers are held
up and delays getting stock.

How widespread are the shortages?

If you go to shops, the shelves are mostly filled. But behind the scenes retailers are working flat out to tackle supply chain issues.

One solution has been to reduce ranges, which may limit choice but still means there is plenty of most of our favourite items.

Will there be shortages at Christmas?

Most experts believe there will be shortages of certain products but, again, it will be most likely mean smaller ranges and, as in most years, certain best-selling products being in limited supply.

Isn’t it in retailers’ interest to get us to buy early?

Possibly, and experts are saying there could be an element of
that going on here.

But they point to the supply chain headaches that have been a big issue for retailers and other firms for most of this year, in one way or another.


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