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Toy distributor warns pandemic wreaking havoc on Christmas sales

- November 9, 2021 2 MIN READ
shipping delays impact sales

Toy manufacturer and distributor ZURU – home of Pets Alive and Rainbocorns has warned Christmas could be compromised as Australia faces the impact of shipping delays and staff shortages.

New data from Zuru suggests lockdowns in NSW and VIC may have initially insulated local shoppers from the impact of COVID shipping delays but all that is about to change as consumers gear up for the sales and holiday season.

Much like in 2020 when retail reopened following extended lockdowns, sales surged dramatically in the few weeks following, a Zuru spokesperson said.

Sales lift but shipping delays a problem

“We saw a 45 per cent WOW lift last week when NSW reopened.  These surges, like 2020, will see toy lines out of stock before the traditional Christmas shopping period begins.”

With local stores sold out, consumers may turn to overseas outlets to purchase products – but Zuru warns customers will then be hit by a double whammy of shipping and delivery delays.

“Customers who order online today from overseas will not only be hit by the shipping delays but if and when it reaches our shores will then be faced with yet another delay via our postal service.

During lockdown, Australians embraced online shopping.  According to Zuru data, online purchases from August to October for major retailers have seen products reach as high as 60 per cent of the total retail sale. Pre COVID online represented closer to 10-15 per cent of sales.  This change in habits and massive uptick in online sales has challenged logistics and put pressure on postal and delivery services.

Buy now for Christmas says expert

Liz Murphy, National Sales Manager ZURU, said If the question is ‘do shoppers need to rush out and buy their Christmas presents’ the answer is yes.

“There are items still held at the port that should have launched in catalogue at the end of September that are not even on the water yet.  Since Sept, three out of four campaign products have been shifted. Our Q3/Q4 sales were reduced by COVID and now slashed by the shipping delays. No replenishments from October and the overstock flow through to next year is showing signs of affecting our Q1/Q2.

“People laughed at the mums that rushed out and queued the length of Big W during June Toy Mania to layby their Christmas presents early, stacking up full trollies of goods and placing them on a 20-week layby payment, but they will be the ones laughing this Christmas.

“Come mid Nov when I believe we’ll experience the worse of the bare shelves, these keen shoppers will be picking up their ready-made Christmas.

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