Delivery challenges for online retailers mean brick and mortar stores could reap the benefits this festive season.
Many online traders say they are expecting to lose a percentage of prime Christmas sales following the Royal Mail announcement which has brought forward cutoff dates for Christmas delivery.
The Royal Mail has said it cannot guarantee deliveries before 25th December unless goods are in the system by 16th December (this Friday). Small businesses that rely on Royal Mail to deliver their products to customers before Christmas have been forced to take last orders early because of the postal backlog already building up and further postal worker strikes taking place over the next fortnight. This means they will miss the last payday before Christmas.
Some have decided to use private courier firms, but then have to also decide whether to pass this cost on to the customer, or bear it themselves in order to keep orders moving. Many are worried about the reliability of such firms and the associated effect on their business reputation. Some have had to stop taking orders altogether, but will now be left with excess stock at year end.
However, bricks and mortar stores may reap the benefits as shoppers choose to carry out their last minute shopping in person, to guarantee having the presents and festive goodies in their hands in time for Christmas. Many retailers are anticipating a bumper week of sales in the week immediately prior to Christmas, and on the final Christmas Eve Saturday.
England’s elimination from the World Cup following the team’s defeat by France at the weekend has caused disappointment throughout the nation. However, although much of the football themed merchandise may now have to be put in the bargain bins, brick and mortar stores in England have welcomed the fact that the coming weekend will give two clear shopping days, with a lesser percentage of the country coming to a standstill on Sunday to watch the final.
Dave Middleton, of Midco Toys, commented: “Sunday, hour for hour, is the busiest day of the week and the last Sunday in December is a crucial day’s trading for any toy retailer. As much as we all wanted to see England in the World Cup Final it would have come at a serious cost to retail.”
Toy World would like to wish all retailers, big and small, online and in-store, happy trading.