Suffolk retailers on Christmas toy and tree supplies

The Entertainer toy shop in Ipswich

The Entertainer toy shop in Ipswich - Credit: Archant

Suffolk shoppers are being advised to buy early for Christmas - but local toy retailers are reassuring customers there won't be empty shelves.

There have been concerns nationally that everything from toys to Christmas trees could be hit by current supply chain issues.

A recent survey found 28% of UK customers had already started their festive shopping, with 48% planning to start shopping by October.

Toyshop chain The Entertainer, which has a store in Carr Street, Ipswich, has urged customers to shop early, but reassured them over stock levels.

Geoff Sheffield, chief commercial and marketing officer, said: "We urge our customers to shop early for Christmas this year to avoid disappointment.

"It’s important to say that toy shelves won’t be empty, but if there is a specific toy on the Christmas list, we advise that if you see it, buy it."

Mr Sheffield said a range of factors were causing the supply chain problems, including a lack of shipping containers from Asia, with container prices soaring, and the ongoing HGV driver shortage.

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He said brands which could be in short supply included PAW Patrol, following the movie this summer, Coco Melon, Super Mario, L.O.L., Barbie and Bluey.

"It’s difficult to pinpoint specific products at this point in time as the ongoing shipping crisis in China is causing uncertainty as to what will be available and when."

Jon Starling, managing director of Starlings Toys, which has a store in Bury St Edmunds

Jon Starling, managing director of Starlings Toys, which has a store in Bury St Edmunds - Credit: Archant

Jon Starling, managing director of Starlings Toys, which has a store in Bury St Edmunds, said his business was well placed for Christmas because it had pre-ordered goods.

"We don't have any shortages - my suppliers have plenty of stock," he said, adding the company had just taken a major delivery of Lego, and also had good stocks of other toys such as Playmobil and Sylvanian Families.

However, Mr Starling added that across the industry big demand was expected for toys in the run-up to Christmas and some items were bound to sell out as always.

Laurel Farm Garden Centre in Ipswich is looking forward to the Christmas tree season and not expecting shortages

Laurel Farm Garden Centre in Ipswich is looking forward to the Christmas tree season and not expecting shortages - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

There have also been warnings of a shortfall in Christmas trees nationally, but Paul Dalzell, manager of Laurel Farm Garden Centre in Henley Road, Ipswich, said: "As far as we know there isn't any shortage.

"We have our locally-grown trees, which are grown in Woodbridge, and they will be going on sale as usual."

Mr Dalzell added Laurel Farm was trying out Scandinavian trees this year in addition to its local trees,  and said it would be advisable for anyone wanting one of these to buy early.

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