Shop talk: How pandemic supply and demand puts presents in peril
With global supply chains under continued pressure from the pandemic, hot-ticket items on holiday wish lists could be harder to find this year, which is prompting retail experts to encourage shoppers to get a head start this season.
Andrew Wagar of the Canadian Toy Association says if you want to make sure those coveted presents make it under the Christmas tree this year, you’ll want to start crossing items off your shopping list a little earlier than usual.
"Every year in the holiday season there are certain hot toys that sell out faster than others," says Wagar. “It is expected that those certain items are going to sell out faster than normal, they’re going to be replenished slower than usual.”
While you might be tempted to wait for last-minute holiday deals, those could not only be more difficult to come by than in years past, costs could potentially climb instead.
"So right now, early on in the season, is a really good time to shop," says Wagar. "There’s a good supply of products on the shelves, people aren’t actively holiday shopping as they usually would and prices are good."
The issues and disruptions in the worldwide supply network are being further fuelled by worker shortage, and Jim Cormier of the Retail Council of Canada says these problems could last well into next year before being ironed out.
"Retailers are buying in bulk now more so than they ever have in advance of the holiday shopping season, they want to be prepared," says Cormier.
The cost of groceries is also rising, especially at the meat counter. Both beef and chicken are up about 12 per cent while pork is up about 6 per cent. One of the reasons for the increasing price tags on food items is the increasing costs of transportation.
According to food distribution and policy professor Sylvain Charlebois of Dalhousie University, because the Atlantic region gets so many of its products shipped in by truck and train – when logistical costs go up, it can potentially impact our region more than others around the country.
“Oil is up and that makes to move anything at all really will cost more," says Charlebois, “and so prices are being adjusted as a result."