Be the ‘Early Bird’: British Columbia Christmas Shoppers Warn of Retail Supply Chain Crisis | The Canadian News

With just six weeks before Christmas, Christmas shoppers are being warned to start early as retailers grapple with major supply chain issues.

“For the retail sector, it is one of the biggest problems they have faced in years,” retail consultant David Ian Gray told Global News.

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“All categories have been affected by this. Much bigger players, globally and even in Canada … tend to have the resources to mitigate it a little better.

“At the other extreme, at the smaller, independent end, if they get products from Canada … it’s not that bad, except on a large scale, a lot of Canadian manufacturers don’t produce enough.”

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Seasonal items, food products and appliances appear to be among the worst hit categories, he said.

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At the Vancouver Gourmet Warehouse, founder Caren McSherry said the store remains fully stocked, but based on the way shipments have arrived, that’s likely not the case closer to Dec. 25.

McSherry said some large orders have come in only half or even a third of what was expected, with holiday items and international items having the most problems.

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“There will be no challenges if you are an early riser. That early bird is going to get the worm this year, ”he said.

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“If you see (what you’re looking for), it doesn’t matter where you shop… get it, buy it, request a gift receipt. If it’s not correct, at least you won’t be disappointed. “

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At the Bonpoint luxury kids’ boutique in Richmond’s McArthur Glen outlet mall, Jessica Clayton-Carroll shared similar challenges.

Since many of the store’s main products come from Europe, the content of shipments has been unpredictable, he said.

“I think of (the shipments as) a bit like Christmas, you’re not really sure what you’re going to get there,” Clayton-Carroll said.

“Many times we order things and not everything is going to get there. We will get some sizes and some things, but the corresponding part may not come with it, so we will have to wait for the next shipment. “

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Items from the permanent collection, perfumes and skin care products haven’t arrived as often or haven’t arrived in the quantities the store is looking for, he said.

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Gray said supply chain problems so far are a bigger burden on retailers than on consumers, but said buyers need to be prepared to be flexible this year; They must not be married to particular makes and models, he said, or particular retailers.

The problem appears to be a chaotic shipping environment rather than an actual product shortage, he said, which means shoppers need to check frequently if they’re looking for something specific.

“Just because it’s out of stock today doesn’t mean it’s going to be out of stock in five days, so keep checking back,” Gray said.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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