Rising shipping costs leading to a large increase in prices, delays on many toys

Toy Store
Posted at 5:43 AM, Jul 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-09 07:24:07-04

If you've visited a local toy store or the toy aisle at big box stores, you may have noticed some bare spots on the shelves.

Bloomberg reported last month that the skyrocketing price of shipping goods around the world is impacting everything from coffee to toys.

On July 1, the Drewry World Container Index reported the average price for shipping a 40-foot container of cargo by sea costs about $8,400, up 346% compared to this time last year.

Shipping a container from Shanghai to Los Angeles costs more than $9,100, a change of more than 272% from last year.

A couple of locally-owned toy stores tell 7 Action News' Alicia Smith that they are really feeling the pinch -- a problem their customers are starting to notice.

Julie Everitt, the owner of Whistle Stop Hobby and Toy in St. Clair Shores, said the toy shortage is real.

“We’re finding that a lot of the toys that are being shipped from overseas are the ones that are really affecting us the most," Everitt said.

She said shipping costs are through the roof, triggering higher prices and a pause on some shipping until costs come back down again.

Right now, there's a waiting list for many Pokemon items.

“We get it in hit-or-miss, but it could be a continuing problem all through Christmas," Everitt said. "We’ve been getting some emails from some companies saying that this could be a long problem going all the way through 4th quarter – meaning through the holiday season.”

Everitt also said Melissa and Doug Toys have cut back on a lot of their products, with price increases of a dollar or more per item.

Also, Everitt said Schylling Super Nee Doh Balls and Globs come in randomly and are snatched up in a couple of days.
Popular hobby supplies like Testor's Enamel Paints are running way low, too.

"It’s pretty sad. And the most unfortunate part of it is usually it’s the colors they’re all looking for," Everitt said pointing to empty slots on the hobby paint shelf.

Everitt said other toys that are also hard to find include Lionel Trains, Gundham Model Kits, Breyer Horses and "Little Kids" Toy Bubbles.

The situation is one also playing out at other popular local toy stores.

Nori Klar is the founder and owner of Toyology Toys in West Bloomfield, Bloomfield Hills and Royal Oak.

She said Harry Potter-themed toys, LEGO, and Pokemon are in short supply.
Klar explained that many new products that usually arrive in the spring came in late or haven't even shown up.

“Just something that lights up and spins and lights we used to carry for the 4th July - all these spinners. I didn’t get as many light up spinners this year as I ordered. Or I had [ordered] light up hoola hoops. Those didn’t come in," Klar said.

Her biggest concern though is finding workers.

"People are going to get frustrated, and they’re not going to get waited on the way they’re used to. So the employee shortage is really a problem," she said.

Right now, Klar said she could hire another 4-6 people, and will need even more around the holidays.

These shortages and shipping delays are going to end up costing you more money.

Everitt said the distributors tell the toy stores where to set prices. So far, it's been about $1-$3 more on most products.

Klar estimates you'll be seeing about a 10% increase in toy prices due to overall raw materials and shipping costs.

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