Spooked by low stock levels, Illawarra shoppers get in early for Christmas

All stocked up: Three more pallets of toys arrive as Julieanne Mears talks about the early start to Christmas shopping at Casey's Toys. Pictures: Adam McLean.
All stocked up: Three more pallets of toys arrive as Julieanne Mears talks about the early start to Christmas shopping at Casey's Toys. Pictures: Adam McLean.

Christmas shopping has started earlier in the Illawarra this year so children don't miss out.

A larger than usual number of parents and grand parents have been seen eagerly helping Santa source presents for children in the first two weeks of Spring.

Casey's Toys in Wollongong Central is one business experiencing such a rush.

Assistant store manager Julieanne Mears said "everyone is already buying".

Ms Mears said the owners had been busy fully stocking the shop for Christmas.

She said despite the weekend rush in Wollongong there were presently no issues with supply but looking ahead there may be a delay on orders.

Shelves were looking bare in some Wollongong stores on the weekend.

Shelves were looking bare in some Wollongong stores on the weekend.

"People are starting to panic about Christmas," Ms Mears said.

"They are worried we are going to go back into lockdown or we are not going to be able to get stock from overseas.

"Many parents are worried because they don't want their children to miss out. So they are all thinking ahead and getting organised now."

Ms Mears said it was the busiest start to Spring in the shop's five year history and that was good for the business and its employees.

She thinks the rush will continue in the weeks ahead

"Instead of laybuys they are actually buying now and taking the toys home earlier," she said.

One of the reasons people are starting to panic buy is they are starting to see empty shelves in some Illawarra stores.

Bikes still popular despite records sales: Giant Wollongong owner David Hansen said Christmas came very early for bike retailers in the Illawarra during COVID.

Bikes still popular despite records sales: Giant Wollongong owner David Hansen said Christmas came very early for bike retailers in the Illawarra during COVID.

Among the most in demand products in 2020 have been bicycles.

Many bike outlets almost sold out of stock in autumn but are now better placed than their Sydney counterparts with new stock.

Giant Wollongong owner David Hansen said he was doing better than most.

"The bike industry is experiencing poor supply in a lot of areas. Some are affected more than others".

Mr Hansen said where businesses were ranked on the supply chain was now more important than ever.

"We are getting good stock," he said.

"But some people are getting a really poor supply."

Mr Hansen said was not the fault of wholesalers. All bicycles are made in Asia, mostly China, and the supply was impacted by COVID-19 just as the demand went through the roof in April and May.

He said during the NSW lockdown people were buying bikes so they could go outdoors and exercise.

"COVID was our Christmas," he said.

But as supply became short, prices started going up and businesses are no longer in a position to be able to negotiate on price.

"It is purely supply and demand now. Demand is high and supply is ordinary".

For people ordering bikes Mr Hansen is encouraging patience. And he not taking money off people for Christmas orders until their bike arrives.

"Things will improve in October and November I think. And I am selling a lot of bikes to people in Sydney where the situation is worse."

Shelves were looking bare in some Wollongong stores on the weekend.

Shelves were looking bare in some Wollongong stores on the weekend.

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This story Spooked by low stock levels, Illawarra shoppers get in early for Christmas first appeared on Illawarra Mercury.