Concerns about Christmas gifts: Retail groans over delivery problems

After the industry, delivery bottlenecks are now also noticeable in the German retail sector. Hardware stores, furniture stores and the bicycle trade are particularly affected. Christmas presents in demand could be in short supply before the festival.

Delivery problems no longer only plague industry, but also German retailers. 74 percent of retailers complained about such problems in September, according to a survey by the Ifo Institute. “The procurement problems from the industry have now also arrived here,” said the head of the Ifo surveys, Klaus Wohlrabe. “Some Christmas gifts may not be available or will be expensive.”

In the bicycle trade, all of the companies surveyed reported problems with their orders. “There is currently sand in the gears of global logistics,” said Wohlrabe. “In addition, freight rates in shipping have increased significantly.” The after-effects of the timber price rally in the first half of the year were evident in DIY stores (99 percent) and furniture stores. The shortage of chips and semiconductors means that not every product is immediately available at electronics retailers: That said 97 percent of retailers of consumer electronics.

In the motor vehicle trade (88 percent), delivery problems are particularly evident in the case of electric cars. As a consequence, many retailers are now also targeting price increases. “The industry has announced price increases and this is now inevitably arriving in the retail sector,” said Wohlrabe. Despite all the problems, retailers do not yet expect any major disruptions in the approaching Christmas business.

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“With the upcoming Christmas business in mind, there is no need to worry,” said the chief executive of the German Retail Association (HDE), Stefan Genth, recently to the Reuters news agency. “The search for suitable Christmas presents is assured again this year.” This time too, new releases and new models of very popular products could become scarce, as production bottlenecks could arise here.

“It is not to be expected that people will stand in front of empty shelves when they go shopping for Christmas,” said Genth. In the past few years, German retailers put together sales of around 100 billion euros each in November and December.