British summer may have finally arrived, but for many frustrated shoppers, their garden furniture will not be.
A double whammy from Covid-related travel restrictions and a supply chain still hit by the Suez Canal backlog means the most in-demand outdoor furniture lines – including rattan corner sofas, hanging egg chairs and trendy umbrellas – have flown off the shelves.
In March, the 1,300-foot Ever Given freighter became stranded in the Suez Canal, with the incident still affecting imports into the UK, and hopes of a summer abroad growing increasingly unlikely – meaning British homeowners have redecorated their outdoor spaces.
At John Lewis, just one of the retailer’s ten most popular dining sets is currently available, and that’s an unassuming-looking bistro table for two for £239.
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Summer sales wave: UK retailers including John Lewis, Argos and B&Q have seen their most popular outdoor furniture lines – including this £799 Alora corner set from John Lewis – fly off the shelves as the prospect of another summer at home becomes more and more likely
Nine out of ten of John Lewis’s most popular outdoor furniture sets are sold out
It’s a similar story at Ikea — with the Scandinavian store previously warning shoppers that the March Suez Canal blockade was still impacting stock delivery times. This £120 Betso parasol is not currently available in all Ikea UK branches except one
It’s a similar picture at Argos, with many of the summer sun loungers in the shops being in high demand; this £40 Ipanema Fruit chair is sold out in the UK
At Ikea, a £120 Betso parasol is just one of many items that yield a host of ‘out of stock’ results – it’s currently unavailable in just one of the home shop’s 21 UK locations.
The Scandinavian store previously warned shoppers that the blockage of the Suez Canal in March was still impacting stock delivery times.
Aldi, which has heavily promoted its summer garden range through advertisements, sold out quickly on dining sets and chairs, including an L-shaped sofa and hanging egg, and should be back in stock by July at the earliest, according to the budget supermarket’s website.
Last week, an Aldi shopper, @fueltheblog, grumbled on Twitter: ‘I’ve been eyeing @AldiUK garden furniture for a while, it’s been on sale three times each time I’ve looked in the morning and it’s sold out . Really starting to believe they say it will be in stock when it isn’t. #never available #alwaysoutofstock’
MailOnline has reached out to Aldi for comment.
Rattan items – including this Argos rattan effect lounger in graphite – on offer for £140 – seem to be flying off the shelves
Currently unavailable: Next’s Ascot double hammock chair – which retails for £550 – is sold out, along with many other items on the retailer’s website
Aldi’s four seater Gardeline set – in fashionable faux bamboo – is another item no longer offered
Aldi has been heavily promoting its summer garden furniture, but buyers have complained that the sets are selling out quickly… with new stock not coming until July
Other Aldi shoppers say they’ve been delayed even if they’ve managed to order stock, with one shopper @SophieRimingto5 writing on Twitter that she “purchased outdoor furniture on May 16 and it’s been in pick-up depot since May 23?” no updates nothing’
B&Q’s more fashionable stock has also taken a hit, with this £126 Apolima rattan effect sofa amongst the many sold out items from the DIY store in the garden furniture section
Others managed to buy items but now face long delays to actually get them delivered. Shopper @SophieRimingto5 posted on June 2: ‘I’ve been calling non-stop for over a week now and keep being told ‘just wait 48 hours’.
‘I bought this garden furniture on May 16 and it has been in the collection depot since May 23? No updates nothing.’
Next’s trendy double hanging egg chair, £550, is out of stock and it’s a similar picture at Argos, with many of the store’s summer loungers in high demand; a £40 Ipanema Fruit chair is sold out in the UK.
However, there is good news; on Amazon there seems to be quite a bit of choice, with short delivery times. However, consumers will have to be willing to buy without seeing their purchase first.
Summer is over before it comes! What’s available seems to have longer lead times, with this B&Q three seater sofa, retailing for £170, only available for 11 week delivery
This week the BBC reported on how staycation’s growth is boosting sales… but also lets retailers down if they can’t get the ordered goods on time.
Heather Attwooll, who runs camping and outdoor retailer Attwoolls, told the broadcaster she was directly affected in March by the Suez Canal blocked by a container ship.
Attwool said, “There is a risk that small businesses like ours may soon be unable to meet that demand due to supply chain issues that are beyond our control.”
HOW A BRAIDED CONTAINER SHIP STILL INFLUENCES THE SUEZ CANAL
When the Ever Given freighter got stuck diagonally in the narrow but crucial world trade artery in a sandstorm on March 23, it not only set out on a massive mission to dislodge it, it disrupted crucial supply chains to the UK.
The Ever Given megaship that blocked Egypt’s Suez Canal in March and paralyzed world trade for nearly a week — with the impact still being felt two months later.
The giant freighter blocked shipments worth an estimated $9.5 billion a day, including food and oil, and the “huge” impact is still being felt two months later.
At least 150 ships became trapped in the blockade caused by a 200,000-ton freighter that held $29 billion worth of goods in just a few days.
Analysis of the UK’s trade data at the time showed that exports from Asia to Britain were affected by the incident – with furniture, household goods, clothing and footwear among those shipments still experiencing delays.
Seven of the top 10 exporters of electrical goods to the UK are Asian countries, while nearly half of UK furniture imports come from the same region.
China alone produces nearly half of the toys imported into Britain – which are likely to pass through the channel – and accounts for a comparable amount of household items.