Over the past several weeks we have had loads of backorders of luggage that just never seem to come in.
Often we have, as in the past, we take pre-orders from people for luggage we may be out of stock of, or are honoring as a part of a sale that we are still willing to keep the price in a delivery we expect soon.
We have had to call customers time after time to inform them the orders are late, and sometimes a second time.
From all the conversations I had this weekend at the luggage show (where we were honoured as Retailer of theYear did I mention proudly) I found out virtually all our suppliers have been tearing their hair out because of delays in shipping.
Why is that?
A lot of factories closed over the past couple of years causing chaos. But a bigger problem relates to a wealthier consumer society in China.
Firstly, workers don’t want jobs in factories any more. The office jobs are pursued by everyone, even though there are only so many of them. But the factory worker is telling their bosses, I don’t have to put up with this crap any more.
Secondly, the Chinese have become a consumer society, able to travel more than ever before. They need luggage, and want nice luggage so they are buying goods that can get the market a lot faster than overseas shipments.
While in the past luggage companies could put an order in for a 3 month deliver and feel secure in getting the merchandise, they are now projecting a 6 to 8 months requirement for lead times.
So as retailers we are all paying the price with lost sales. And likewise we are now ordering our projected needs the same 6-8 months ahead.