With retailers facing supply chain issues and scrambling to hire, 'tis the season to start holiday shopping early. 'This isn't crying wolf this year'

Lauren Zumbach, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Business News

“At this point we feel optimistic that we will deliver on all existing commercial commitments that we have made this year, but we did not want to put our retailers’ holiday business in jeopardy by continuing to accept new orders that we do not feel confident about delivering in time,” said Filip Francke, CEO of Ravensburger North America and global head of games.

Ravensburger hopes to resume taking orders in the fourth quarter, Francke said. In the meantime, the company is paying for premium shipping services and expanding its production in Europe, where supply chains are experiencing fewer delays than those between the U.S. and Asia, Francke said. Ravensburger is also working with U.S. warehouse partners to offer more incentives and training to help attract employees.

Rick Derr, owner of Learning Express Toys in Lake Zurich, said he appreciated the notice Ravensburger gave so he could get orders in early.

Even with the supply chain disruptions, Derr said he isn’t worried about having empty shelves this holiday season. While about half the toy manufacturers he placed preorders with are delivering products four to six weeks late, he still expects they will arrive in plenty of time for the holidays.

Still, he encouraged parents to shop early.

“This isn’t crying wolf this year,” he said. “This is my 26th Christmas and nothing has been so built up as this, but this time it’s real.”


Books are seeing disruptions too, particularly when it comes to illustrated books that are typically printed overseas.

Representatives selling those titles told Mary Mollman, owner of Near West Side bookstore Madison Street Books, to order everything she thought she needed upfront, because they weren’t sure they’d be able to deliver more copies, Mollman said.

The bookstore, which held its grand opening days before the first pandemic shutdown in spring 2020, has had some “touch and go moments” trying to stay afloat and typically tries to order conservatively, Mollman said. This year she’s placed some bigger orders for highly anticipated titles to avoid being caught short-handed over the holidays and encourages customers to shop early or preorder.

Other large companies cited concerns about apparel and footwear.


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