Delays Across United Kingdom Container Ports Cause Shortage of “Harry Potter” Merchandise

While planning for your Christmas shopping this year, you may want to take into account that supplies may be very limited. Due to unforeseen circumstances, the United Kingdom is currently seeing an unprecedented shortage of toys and collectibles, including Harry Potter merchandise, due to severe delays at container ports receiving shipments of goods. The deficit is also likely to cause price increases.

It seems that the current dire situation stems from the UK’s container ports being incredibly understaffed. Containers full of merchandise continue to arrive at the ports, but without the appropriate staff to process each shipment, the ports become backed up with containers. With more ships arriving, the ports become congested, causing ships to be diverted to other ports. All of these circumstances are preventing products from reaching retailers and clients.

Speaking with the BBC, Elvijs Plugis, co-owner of a chain of retail shops specializing in fandom-based collectibles called House of Spells, spoke of the unfortunate chain of events that led to the current scarcity of Potter products, such as clothing, movie replicas, and wands:

First Brexit hit, and then the pandemic hit. The combination of both, the manufacturers got scared, and work stopped, and they couldn’t ship big containers by sea.

And of course, the situation is affecting several retailers throughout the UK. Plugis recalled earlier that morning that the Harry Potter Shop at Platform 9 3/4 ran out of stock and had to refer customers over to House of Spells.

 

Elvijs Plugis is the co-owner of House of Spells, a retail shop focused on Wizarding World merchandise and collectibles.

Elvijs Plugis is the co-owner of House of Spells, a retail shop focused on Wizarding World merchandise and collectibles.

 

The shortage has become incredibly costly for retailers as well, with Plugis explaining that the store must now pay an additional “25-30% in container shipping costs” and “up to 30% more on customs charges.” At the moment, the shop has not increased its prices, but Plugis is unsure of how long the establishment can continue without the markup.

While House of Spells has managed to maintain its prices, for the time being, all of these additional costs will very likely cause prices to increase eventually. Alan Simpson, managing director of Toytown, a Belfast, Northern Ireland-based chain of toy retailers, believes that prices will inevitably rise by January, with an added effect on inflation.

Joel Berkowitz, founder of the London Toy Company, an importer of officially licensed Harry Potter toys, shared that the organization’s stock of Potter products is completely sold out. In fact, the company currently has approximately 35,000 toys being held at ports and about 10,000 toys needing to be redirected to other ports.

Simpson is urging consumers to start their Christmas shopping earlier this year, which, considering the circumstances, is really good advice that shouldn’t be ignored. Certainly, the Wizarding World fan in your life will appreciate your efforts.

Do you believe that the situation could get better any time soon? Can you think of any solutions to the ongoing problem? Let us know in the comments.

 

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Adam Poncharoensub

"Hogwarts is my home!" is a phrase that I've uttered more times than any sane person should (and my long-suffering friends can attest to it.) For as long as I can remember, I've always found myself escaping reality into the wizarding world to feel at peace. Instead, I'm more likely wandering the suburbs of South Florida shouting choice "Harry Potter" and Batman quotes at unsuspecting victims.