The twin challenges of Britain’s departure from the European Union and the global coronavirus pandemic are creating a ‘perfect storm’ of disruption to the UK’s LEGO supply chain.
Paul Reader, Marketing Director of Toymaster, spoke to Business Insider to discuss the problems the UK toy industry is currently experiencing.
Striking a glum note, he cautioned consumers: “If you’re chasing the must-have LEGO line right now, you won’t get it.”
Felixstowe, Britain’s biggest and busiest port, is suffering severe disruption amid a sharp increase in the number of shipments attempting to enter the country. Companies are rushing to stockpile goods before the UK’s Brexit transition period ends.
From January 1, Britain’s trading relationship with the European Union will change. However, no agreement has yet been reached on what this relationship will look like, prompting companies to act now in an attempt to avoid anticipated problems.
Issues at Felixstowe are further compounded by the large quantities of personal protective equipment that are sitting in storage taking up valuable port space. These items were rushed into the UK earlier this year as part of the efforts to combat the pandemic.
These two problems are placing extreme pressure on UK ports, resulting in shortages of toys imported from abroad. This is making for a very different Christmas trading period to past years.
Commenting on the unique challenges faced in 2020, Reader reflected: “If you had 20 toys that are popular at Christmas in a traditional year, you’d be able to get 10 of them at the last minute. But this year, most if not all of them will be sold out.”
This difficult situation will come as no surprise to some. The founder of The Entertainer toy shop already cautioned last month that supply chain issues would be coming.
Shoppers at LEGO.com will have noticed the impact of this disruption over the past few weeks. The online store has seen numerous popular items fall out of stock and appear listed for back order only. Don’t forget that you can sign up for Brick Fanatics’ stock alerts to let you know when items are available again.