Warning price of Christmas toys set to rocket this year – ‘if they’re even in stock’

Christmas is just four months away and the price of toys this year are set to shoot up.

The boss of a British toy company warned it is because of delays and shortages – which are affecting a number of companies in the UK.

Read more: Christmas could be ‘cancelled’ as food supply issues affect supermarkets

Parents will likely have to spend more on presents this year as businesses hike up prices to recover costly shipping expenses during the Covid pandemic, The London Toy Company director Joel Berkowitz said.

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“Toys this Christmas are going to be more expensive, and that’s if they’re even in stock,” he said.

“We are massively affected by the shortages. We have clients wanting to place orders now and we just can’t deliver it.

“One of our customers is Amazon and they placed a massive order this morning but we can’t fulfil it, so it’s killing our business. It’s a complete mess.”

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The Covid crisis has created a lack of empty shipping containers in key manufacturing countries like China – meaning companies are now having to wait at least three weeks for containers to become available, Yorkshire Live reports.

This has pushed up shipping costs to as much as eight times the normal rate, industry figures say – a problem worsened by congestion at British ports and a lack of HGV drivers.

Higher shipping costs also mean companies must pay more tax to import the goods – ultimately forcing them to hike up toy prices to make a profit.

“In any given year we bring in about 30 containers which previously would’ve cost around £30,000. This year it’s going to cost us £150,000, possibly more,” Mr Berkowitz said.

WOW Toys owner Nadim Ednan-Laperouse said shipping costs for toy companies are ‘totally unprecedented’
(Image: Yorkshire Live)

“Then even when they get here, we’re quoted a three-week delay to get a truck to take it from the port to our warehouse.

“It’s a whole chain reaction affecting every part of the shipping process. And it’s only going to get worse.”

The toy company director said allowing more European transport workers into the country would help tackle costs – and drive down toy prices.

“There are two things that could help right now and that’s the Government allowing port workers and HGV drivers from Europe to work freely over here,” he said.

“Then they need to have serious talks about the shipping process, and the companies that run it, which are being referred to as cartels.”

Meanwhile Nadim Ednan-Laperouse, founder and owner of UK based WOW Toys, said the current situation is “totally unprecedented”.

“While the situation with HGV drivers is a UK issue, everything else is a global issue,” he said.

“The biggest problem of all is the shipping lanes, which are run by a handful of companies such as Cosco and Maersk, who have put their prices up massively because they have complete free reign.

“Whereas the cost of a container for us was around 2,300 dollars, now it’s 20,000 dollars.

“And the result is going to be a massive inflationary problem around the world. So I can’t understand why governments, including the UK’s, aren’t bringing pressure on them.”

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