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Holiday shopping at the mercy of extended pandemic supply chain disruptions – WCCO

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Two months before Christmas, and the rush is unfolding in a different way than ever. With shipping delays, product shortages and factory closures, many hot gifts will be in short supply. WCCO’s Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield takes a look at what buyers need to tick off their listings now.

It’s not just during the time of giving that a group of people in New Hope Baptist are doing just that. They say they look after the needs of others throughout the year, running a busy food ministry on the east side of St. Paul. This sometimes leaves them ill-prepared to give gifts to loved ones at the end of the year.

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“I’m never really ready for Christmas,” one said.

Worse yet, shopping should be more painful this year than ever.

“What really concerns me about the holiday season is getting the product from customers to consumers,” said Kyle Schmidt, professor at the University of St. Thomas.

Schmidt teaches on the now coveted topic of supply chain flows.

“It’s something that I studied and I didn’t expect it to be very popular,” he said.

As the supply chain experiences unprecedented disruption, he says the increase in door-to-door orders has caused shipments to slow.

“There is a culmination of a lot of things that cause these disruptions,” he said.

What this means for holiday shoppers is that electronics will be in short supply, with power cuts in China and a shortage of chips. Sneakers and sportswear will also be harder to find due to COVID-19 factory closures in Vietnam.

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And then there is the subject of toys.

“It has been a strange year for retail. We’ve been through a lot, ”said Dan Marshall, owner of Mischief Toys.

There, they saw a shortage of stuffed animals, kids’ sodas, and a slow restocking of almost everything. The pandemic has also resulted in a shortage of paper and ink, so there is also a shortage of many books.

“People need to know everything they see on the shelves right now, in any store, may not be available in a month or two,” Marshall said.

Marshall’s store is more than full right now as he planned ahead, placing additional holiday orders in June.

“It is absolutely the busiest our basement has ever been,” he said. “We had to invent a space for things.

This preparation can be the saving grace of some buyers.

“I’m cautiously optimistic that these retailers… they’re holding more inventory, anticipating a strong holiday season,” Schmidt said.

The teacher always suggests shopping early. He also says the chip issue will be a long-term supply issue, so he says he expects a delay for a while when ordering electronics, furniture or cars.

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