Despite supply chain issues, retailers are stocked with toys for last-minute holidays • The Toy Book

A Target store in Illinois is fully stocked with dolls and accessories. | Source: James Zahn/The Book of Toys

For some big box stores and national chains, their ships have finally arrived.

Despite months of worrying about supply chain issues, including lack of space for containers; price gouging on spot rates; labor issues; traffic jams at ports; and trucking and rail problems — not to mention inflation and rising raw material costs — big-box toy shelves from coast to coast are filling up.

In the United States, regional outages plagued retailers for much of the fall. Stores in the Midwest could be fully stocked with toys and games with no real, visible signs of a supply chain problem, while other locations of the same company have been wiped out in other states.

Independent toy stores and specialty retailers have been quick to adjust inventory levels and take advantage of resources such as the toy book get list to find fast-delivery in-stock products to fill US warehouse shelves while some suppliers, including Ty Inc., have stepped up efforts to keep independents stocked.

Fresh toys at Walmart, Meijer and Costco. | Source: James Zahn/The Book of Toys

DECEMBER INVENTORY ARRIVALS + MIA BASICS

Still, hot toys are hot toys, and some items – such as Moose Toys’ Magic Mixies, Spin Master’s Bat-Tech Batcave, or MGA Entertainment’s LOL Surprise! OMG House of Surprises – can be hard to find before Christmas as stock levels have gone from fluctuating to dry. Likewise, LEGO shelves are bare at many Target locations, and a few staples, like Mattel’s $1 Hot Wheels vehicles, are MIA at Walmart and Target.

Starting in the days leading up to Black Friday and leading up to Cyber ​​Week, Target and Walmart stores increased their inventory levels dramatically. Some Target stores visited by the toy book had shelves full with excess inventory stacked right on the floor. At Walmart, cool pallet shippers filled with stocking stuffers under $20 began popping up as Midway displays in early December.

A big difference in 2021 compared to past years is the return to brick and mortar.

Data released by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Adobe Analytics confirmed that foot traffic in physical stores is increasing while e-commerce is plunging. This year, Cyber ​​Week sales figures have generally declined, with Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday being affected.

Starting December 9, Amazon says it won’t have MGAE’s LOL Surprise! OMG House of Surprises in stock for delivery until January 15, 2022. | Source: Amazon/The Toy Book

In many cases, consumers cannot rely on digital shopping to find what they need because physical stores have a better selection and better inventory levels. And, by buying in-store, consumers won’t have to worry about the potential for late or missing deliveries. As of this writing, I cannot order LOL Surprise! OMG House of Surprises from Amazon and have it before Christmas.

Last week, Build-A-Bear Workshop issued a statement pushing back on supply chain issues and assuring consumers that its stores will be well stocked for weeks to come.

“Our team has done a great job mitigating supply chain disruptions to keep our products moving as efficiently as possible with the goal of having many furry friends available in our workshops and on buildabear.com so that we can continue to offer the family tradition of creating heartfelt vacation memories for our guests,” said Sharon Price John, President and CEO of Build-A-Bear Workshop.

Left: Games at Walgreens; Right: Overstock toys in the Meijer seasonal area on December 7, 2021 | Source: James Zahn/The Book of Toys

PROMOTIONAL PRICES ARE COMING

Before the fall, some speculated that supply chain issues would lead to bare shelves and ultimately a lack of promotional pricing. As we saw throughout November and into December, this is not the case in mass retail.

Black Friday and Cyber ​​Week sales on toys ended up being pretty standard, and the continued arrival of new stock – some of which should have arrived in October – has led to some pretty aggressive pricing in the latter. days. Meijer stores in the Midwest did 25% off games and puzzles alongside buy-one/get-one (BOGO) deals. Similarly, Target did quite a bit of category-specific markdowns of 30%, with BOGO buy one, get one 50% off and buy two toys, get one free over the others. Walmart is also rolling back some items, and even Toys “R” Us in its soft launch with Macy’s has been aggressive with pricing heading into the second week of December.

As the toy industry continues to prove, creatives are finding creative ways to alleviate problems and everything is done to put smiles on faces, especially during the holiday season.

While the best assortment of this year’s hottest toys may now be in the hands of aftermarket pinball machines, retailers across the country are brimming with great toys for every taste, and new items are popping up all the time. the weather.

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