The festive season is fast-approaching and were all looking forward to a traditional Christmas with all the trimmings! However, it seems that Christmas cheer may be distinctly absent from some British households this year due to the unavailability of many of the nations most sought-after toys.
New research conducted by supply chain software vendor Strategix shows that of the top ten toys for Christmas, none of the ten leading high street stores had all items in stock. In fact, off-the-shelf availability of the top ten toys for Christmas is at an all-time low of 58%.
In October of each year the Toy Retailers Association publishes a list of the ten toys most likely to find their way into our childrens stockings*. Using the content of this list, calls were made to 10 high street retailers to confirm whether all ten toys were immediately available.
-On average, the stores had just over half of the stock available
-This means that 42% were unavailable
-No stores had all 10 items available
-One store had none of the items available
-The most desired toy of the year is also the least available (Robosapiens)
-Six out of ten stores confirmed availability levels by conducting 'physical stock check
Andrew Yuille, Strategix marketing director commented: "Problems with commercial supply chains have been making the headlines for some time now but it seems that high street stores continue to ignore the warning signs. Consumers have the right to expect that retailers would get the basics right to meet seasonal demand particularly during this, their busiest time of the year. With most toy manufacture now taking place in China and elsewhere in Asia its a situation that can only be resolved by having the right supply chain and management systems in place. Ultimately this is the only way to guarantee a truly merry Christmas for consumers and continued customer loyalty for Christmases to come."
He continued: "Its interesting too to note that 60% of the staff at the stores acquired stock availability information by conducting a physical search of the shop floor. This is a very unsophisticated approach and begs the question why employees are not being provided with even the most basic access to supply chain inventory systems to enable them to quickly and accurately fulfil a key customer service role - that of helping the customer to purchase.
This year has seen the unprecedented sight of many high street stores having exceptional pre-Christmas sales in case of a slowdown in consumer spending. Wouldn't it be better for customer and retailer to ensure that the right systems are in place so that shops are stocked with products for which there is clear demand and where such discounting is unnecessary?" asks Yuille.
*The products sought by Strategix were as follows (in no particular order):
-Robosapiens RRP 79.99
-Bratz (Flashback Party) RRP 19.99
-Cabbage Patch Kids 19.99
-Classic games (Buckaroo, Twister & Cluedo) RRP 9.99-14.99
-Dora the Explorer (we did it dancing Dora) RRP 29.99
-Leapster Leapfrog RRP 64.99
-Power Rangers (12.5cm Tri-Battliser) RRP 6.99
-Tamagotchi (Connexion) RRP 12.99
-Trampolines (8-14ft) RRP 149.00-299.00
-V-Smile V-Tech RRP 49.99