Local toy stores say you shouldn’t wait to fulfill Christmas wish lists this year

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LAKEWOOD, Ohio (WJW) – You may want to prepare a holiday toy list early this year.

Retailers warn of a potential nationwide toy shortage right ahead of the holiday season, putting additional pressure on local toy stores.

At Apple Jax Toys, with locations in Lakewood and Chagrin Falls, co-owners Diana Hlywiak and Allen Singleton are already feeling the pinch of global shipping delays that only add to the rising cost of popular toys they estimate are 20% more expensive.

“I think all retailers are feeling a little bit of pressure right now,” said Hlywiak.

“Honestly, when we put those orders in, we’re kind of crossing our fingers that they will get here before Christmas time,” said Singleton. 

It all stems from a global problem in supply chain and shipping container issues. The Toy Association, which represents toy manufacturers, retailers and importers across the country, calls it a crisis.

“It’s really an end-to-end failure that’s been building since the pandemic,” said Steve Pasierb, President and CEO of The Toy Association. “From the factories in China to the ports in Asia to the ports here in the United States, to the U.S. trucking industry. Every step along the way there’s been complications that have led to this massive backlog of containers, ships and cargo that may not make it to stores in time for the holidays.”

According to The Toy Association, more than 85% of toys sold in the U.S. are manufactured overseas. The industry supports more than 600,000 U.S. jobs with an annual economic impact of more than $97 billion.

Pasierb said hundreds of millions of dollars in products may not make it into the country and the organization is already hearing companies are choosing to leave product in Asia with plans to ship to the U.S. possibly next year.

The Toy Association said it is actively advocating with the Federal Maritime Commission and Congress, working to advance legislation that would give the Federal Maritime Commission more “clout” in the future to be able to regulate the industry.

“Your local store is going to see shortages and we’re already seeing gaps at the major retailers–your Walmart’s, your Target’s–who are responding by booking their own ships and doing anything they can do to get their products in,” said Pasierb.

He said anyone shopping for toys this season should begin soon, with some of the best supply already on store shelves.

“Normally, we wait until Thanksgiving and after Thanksgiving for the best sales. Those sales may not happen this year,” said Pasierb.

While retailers large and small await orders, parents are encouraged to talk with their kids that this year could be more challenging to fulfill a holiday toy wish list.

“Make sure to let the child know if they’re filling out a holiday list to put a lot of items on and understand they’re getting a percentage,” said Singleton. “You’re not getting everything you want.”

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