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Product delays mean Kiwis might miss out at Christmas

It might be even harder to find the perfect gift this Christmas, due to Covid-19 induced supply chain issues.

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Covid-19 has affected some global supply lines and retailers are bracing for stock shortages. Source: 1 NEWS

Retail has been hit particularly hard by the Covid recession and now shop owners are bracing for stock shortages ahead of Christmas and Black Friday.

Sourcing product from overseas and delays with freight are the big concerns, and it could mean the discount bonanzas of recent years are not as big.

“I’m spending a lot of my time just trying to get the orders here in time for Christmas. We wouldn't mind pushing Christmas out four weeks this year, that would be really helpful," says shop owner Nicola Cranfield.                                     

A Retail NZ survey of 500 members shows 46 per cent expect stock shortages ahead of Black Friday and Christmas, with 54 per cent saying that sourcing their products are the biggest challenge ahead of the holiday season.

"It covers the full range of retail products - we have issues with bicycles, homeware and hardware that just aren’t coming into New Zealand as quickly as we would [usually] see them,” says Retail NZ spokesperson Greg Hartford.  

Factories have been forced to close in Europe under lockdown, like the one making the top of range Le Creuset cookware.

"Certainly products that we source from Europe, especially France and Italy, those two places have proven more difficult to get stock from,” says retailer Nicola Topley.

"It is just a case of being more creative and cherry picking from different suppliers."    

But sourcing goods is not the only problem, as air freight costs shoot up, forcing importers to opt for other alternatives like shipping.

Cranfield says retailers are losing weeks of valuable time due to shipping delays.

"The items seem to get on the vessel fine in Europe and then because they have to change vessels around Singapore, they are waiting to get on a ship down to New Zealand."

Financial experts say the extra production costs could push down the level of discounts which occur during the holiday season.

"This year there's a risk those discounts could be more moderate especially for those in demand items but I still think we will see a bit of downward pressure on prices," says Satish Ranchod, Westpac senior economist.