The Entertainer founder and executive chair Gary Grant has told Retail Week pent-up shipping demand will impact product availability this Christmas.

Global supply chain bottlenecks look set to cause disruption for toy deliveries this golden quarter.

Grant said: “There will be an impact on the availability of stock this year. There will be a lot more shortages than experienced for the past few years.”

He added: “I don’t want to cause panic” but said companies are “not in a position to react” to potential shortages due to the lack of shipping availability at present.

Supply chains globally have been impacted throughout the pandemic with no end to trade disruption in sight. Grant described the current situation as an “international crisis”.

He said “a shortage of actual physical containers” was the “first challenge” for retailers.

If companies do manage to secure a shipping container, prices have rocketed since the start of the pandemic. Grant reported that prices for shipping a 40-feet container can now be 10-times the price it was 15 months ago. 

He said the sharp increase in shipping costs is “affecting all containers from all places”, adding that this notable price increase has been a gradual rise over the course of the Covid crisis.

Grant said spot rates – short-term, transactional pricing, which is based on current supply and demand for shipping – can now be 15-times higher than it was at the beginning of 2020.

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  • The sectors that stand to benefit from higher retail spend this Christmas 
  • What online penetration will look like and whether stores will bounce back 
  • How retailers including Aldi, The Very Group and Notonthehighstreet are already planning for Christmas 2021