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Christmas Shopping More Challenging By Molly Shen Komo 1000 News October 29, 2002

Christmas Shopping More Challenging
By Molly Shen Komo 1000 News
October 29, 2002
Item# chrisshopmor

Product Description

Port Backlog Could Make Christmas Shopping More Challenging

October 29, 2002
 
By Molly Shen


 

SEATTLE - Started your Christmas shopping yet? Before you say it's too early, think about this: We're still recovering from the cargo backlog at West Coast ports. That has some retail analysts predicting a few of the hot toys made overseas could be in short supply.

"The only reason I'm thinking about Christmas early is because of the strike at the loading docks" said parent Lynne Banki. "I was concerned there'd be a short supply of a lot of the things that are made outside the country."

Banki's 5-year-old son wants a Rescue Hero action figure, predicted to be one of this year's hot sellers.

Just in case they run out, she is buying it today.

Retail giant Target is quick to point out that the company knew there would be problems at the ports, so they ordered early.

"We are anticipating the Kinderbot to be a big seller," said Rena Smith of Target. "We also anticipate Harry Potter action figures with the movie coming out. Yu-Gi-Oh action figures as well."

The only item in short supply are Christmas stuffed animals, and those are due by mid- November.

Smaller toy stores could be more vulnerable, if they weren't able to build up inventory.

"The backlog at the port is supposed to be emptied out by around Thanksgiving," said Greg Mangan, an associate professor of operations management. "If it happens a couple days later, those smaller retailers will lose another couple days of the Christmas season."

It wasn't just retailers anticipating port problems. Suppliers did too.

Toy company Mattel -- who hopes you'll load up on big seller "Rapunzel Barbie" -- is flying in games and toys. That gets their products on the shelves now.

Anything stuck at the waterfront will restock the shelves later in the season.

Bottom line: Toy stores say don't worry about what happened at the ports. Your biggest problem might be competing with shoppers who are already filling their Christmas lists.

Adding to the competition: Thanksgiving falls a little late this year, so the traditional shopping season is at least four days shorter than normal.

So it might not be the port backlog at all, but the calendar that has you rushing your holiday shopping.





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