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Global supply chain crisis: Why consumers should start holiday shopping now

Click to play video: 'Consumer Matters: Retail warning to do your Christmas shopping now'
Consumer Matters: Retail warning to do your Christmas shopping now
Retailers are advising people to do their Christmas shopping early, saying a crisis in the supply chain could result in severe shortages of many consumer products over the coming months. Anne Drewa reports – Sep 27, 2021

Global shipping disruptions from container shortages to shipping backlogs have retailers warning consumers to start holiday shopping early.

“If you see it, grab it because if you are waiting it may not be available,” said The Village Toy Shop owner Teresa Johansson.

The Port Moody toy retailer says she’s trying her best to stay stocked, but the supply chain crisis has caused major delays in getting certain products to her store.

“Things that would normally arrive in a couple of weeks, we are now waiting a couple of months to get those products,” Johansson said.

Compounding the problem, are pandemic-related factory shutdowns. IKEA Canada says it’s currently experiencing lower availability in certain product ranges, including kitchens and mattresses. To mitigate the effects of the ocean transport issue, IKEA Canada says globally it’s taking extraordinary action and buying its own containers and chartering space on vessels to secure supply and meet customer demand.

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Click to play video: 'Consumer Matters: Pandemic supply chain problems could affect tire stores'
Consumer Matters: Pandemic supply chain problems could affect tire stores

Several small business owners are also feeling the pinch.  Vancouver-based Reckless Bike Stores owner Paul Dragan says in March, he started running out of bikes and only now the product is starting to arrive. “Be prepared to wait,” said Dragan.  “It could be months, it could be a year. We don’t know, Our suppliers don’t know.”

If you want a bike in time for Christmas, Dragan recommends ordering now and placing a deposit. “If you want a bike, come put a deposit on the bike. A deposit gets you from a maybe to a yes,” he said.

At the same time, consumers can expect to pay more for goods as the supply chain crisis continues. “Our suppliers are being charged more for containers. So, that shipping container that used to cost US $2,500 to get from Asia to North America is now $8,000 to $10,000 for the same container,” Dragan added.

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Click to play video: 'Container shortage means higher prices for B.C. consumers'
Container shortage means higher prices for B.C. consumers

Read more: Having a hard time accessing your favourite products? Blame the shipping container crisis

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It’s one of the many reasons consumer prices are on the rise.

Vancouver-based Forerunners is seeing certain brands of runners in short supply.

“What’s supposed to come in August might come in November, might be in January. The sales rep doesn’t even know,” said owner Peter Butler.

Supply chain disruptions are driving up prices and consumers can expect to pay more for a variety of products. “We are going to see five to 10 per cent inflation at least in footwear maybe more for certain brands,” Butler said.

As for when the supply chain crisis may ease?  Some business owners are predicting well into next year, “I think it’s going to last until the spring,” Butler added.

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