Majority of retail bosses planning price rises as problems spread past Felixstowe
- Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown
A 'majority' of retail bosses are planning to put up prices on goods by the end of the year due to delays caused to supply chains, with bosses saying problems are beyond just Felixstowe.
The Port of Felixstowe has hit the headlines in recent weeks after concerns were raised about congestion there with container company Maersk diverting goods away from the port.
Similar issues are now appearing across the country and beyond.
Helen Dickinson, head of the British Retail Consortium (BRC), which represents the sector, said a recent poll of chief executives found that three out of five plan price rises later this year due to soaring supply chain costs.
She said: “The supply chain issues are the priority for all businesses right now.
“They are thinking about Christmas. It is the most important period of the year for a retailer – takings for a non-food retailer in December are an average of 70% higher than other months.
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“We are already seeing inflation starting to take place.
“We surveyed CEOs and three-fifths said they were going to have to increase prices by the end of the year. Ten percent said they already have.”
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Gary Grant, founder of toy store chain The Entertainer, said delays were affecting a number of UK ports beyond Felixstowe.
The toy store boss said his 170 shops were “literally brimming with stock” as a result of spending the last six weeks over-delivering.
But he cautioned that 50% of the chain’s stock is sold between October and December and “even with fully stocked stores at the moment our concern is that there could be gaps at Christmas”.
Asked what he would say to consumers planning for Christmas, Mr Grant said: “I would say don’t panic. You will not see empty toy shelves.
“But if as a parent you know your child wants a special item, I would recommend that you buy early.”
Chancellor Rishi Sunak, speaking to the BBC, said: “We’re doing absolutely everything we can to mitigate some of these challenges.
“They are global in nature so we can’t fix every single problem but I feel confident there will be good provision of goods for everybody.
“I’m confident there will be a good amount of Christmas presents available for everyone to buy.”