Brits face Christmas toy rationing with even the traditional turkey dinner at risk, retailers and industry experts have warned.
Families are being urged to finish their Christmas shopping before deliveries are overwhelmed with online orders.
Experts warned a flood of orders combined with shop closures, staff shortages and a logjam at the UK’s biggest port in Felixstowe constitute a perfect storm, The Mirror reports.
The new Covid-19 shutdown in England is expected to have triggered another surge in online shopping, piling pressure on delivery networks already feeling the strain.
Dino Rocos, who used to run John Lewis’s logistics operation, warned couriers could be forced to cap the number of orders they can handle.
He predicted shoppers wanting items by Christmas could have to order up to 10 days in advance – double the norm.
Mr Rocos, who now runs the Future Retail Logistics consultancy, said: “You simply can’t squeeze any more through the operations than they can cope with.”
To add to the chaos, delivery firms are facing a shortage of drivers – despite launching a recruitment blitz in recent months.
David Jinks, of delivery price comparison website Parcelhero, said: “We’ve seen the Mount Everest of peaks in demand for online orders this year.
“All you need is bad weather or something else to be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
“If I wanted to place an order for Christmas I would do so very soon.”
It comes as the Mirror revealed toy giant Lego is now having to ration supplies to shops.
Gary Grant, founder of The Entertainer, Britain’s biggest toy chain, confirmed Lego had slashed his November delivery to 40% of what was ordered.
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He said: “I would be surprised if I get more than that in December. Lego is having a problem in terms of supply.
“If you are planning on getting a Lego set for Christmas, do not leave it until December.”
Lego’s issues are due to booming sales of its products, in strong demand since the start of the first lockdown. The firm said its factories are operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to try to keep up.
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Other popular toys that could be in short supply include Barbie and board games such as Monopoly.
Mr Grant said it was the worst threat to supplies across so many different products in his more than 40-year career in the toy industry.
Sarah Coles, personal finance analyst at broker Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “Retailers could be overwhelmed by a surge in orders while trying to socially distance in warehouses and deal with demand for deliveries.
“Shoppers may be unable to get presents delivered in time for Christmas.
“Take delivery times with a pinch of salt. There’s going to be a surge in demand, so you need a much larger margin for error.”
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