Find out why a toy retailer wants us to think Christmas amid scorching sunshine temperatures and beckoning summer holidays

Peterborough folk might be sweltering during the hottest days of the year and our thoughts are likely set on summer getaways but one toy retailer is already urging us to shop early for Christmas.

Tuesday, 20th July 2021, 5:00 am
The Entertainer. Pic Steve Robards SR2011163 SUS-201116-172054001

The ‘think Christmas’ plea comes from Gary Grant, the chief executive of national toy retailer The Entertainer, which operates a large store in Bridge Street, Peterborough.

He warns that a shipping crisis in China is likely to mean that many of what will probably be this Christmas’ must-haves for city youngsters will face lengthy transport delays.

His message is simple. If you want to be sure gifts are under the tree on Christmas Day, buy early.

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So alongside drawing up that list of summer holiday essentials, it might be wise to consider adding in some of those Christmas desirables.

Mr Grant, the founder of the family run retailer, said: “There are lots of brands that we’re excited about for Christmas 2021, including PAW Patrol, following the movie this summer, and Coco Melon, Super Mario, L.O.L. Surprise!, Barbie and Bluey.

“The shipping crisis in China is causing uncertainty as to what will be available and when.

“So above all, we urge our customers to shop early for Christmas this year to avoid disappointment.”

The shipping crisis is the result of the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns in China and other Asian countries which saw ports close and many containers earmarked for those same ports off-loaded in other parts of the world.

The result is hundreds of thousands of containers in the wrong places around the globe.

It meant ports struggled to get goods to sea as consumer spending soared when the lockdowns eased leading to long delays in the transport of goods.

The situation got worse after the six week blockage of the Suez Canal in March.

Experts say the container crisis is unlikely to sort itself out until early next year.

Mr Grant said: “Given the disappointment of Christmas 2020, it is important to make up for lost time and make Christmas 2021 better than ever.”

The container crisis was a headache for leading Peterborough employer Ideal Shopping Direct, based in Newark Road, which invested £5 million to buy several months stock in advance to head off the worst of the shipping delays, which in some cases could amount to 70 days.