Newcastle school shoe retailer on the back foot amid COVID supply chain chaos

Major school shoe supplier warns shoe stores to expect delivery delays just as students begin to prepare for a return to class as rising COVID cases disrupt supply chains .

January is normally the busiest time of year for a Newcastle family shoe store specializing in children’s school shoes.

Davies Shoes has been in business for over 90 years, but its manager Ivor Davies has never seen it so quiet at what is normally its peak sales period.

“Yeah, you’re not having a very good Christmas because you’re living in fear of what January will look like,” he said.

“But it’s kind of exciting and I love it, otherwise I wouldn’t be doing it.”

He said supply chain constraints could affect people trying to stock up on school shoes and he urged customers not to leave buying school shoes to the last minute.

Mr Davies says his main supplier of school shoes is warning of delivery constraints ahead of the back-to-school rush.(ABC Newcastle: Liz Farquhar)

“It’s a freight issue, not a supply issue.

“The shoes are there; the difficulty is getting them from the warehouse to the retailer. »

Reduced spending, impacted supply chains

Retail marketing expert Louise Grimmer of the University of Tasmania said there was no doubt retail spending had taken a hit during the latest COVID surge.

“Data from ANZ Bank shows spending across the country fell in the first week of January and was at the lowest level since the Delta shutdowns for in-store and online spending,” it said. she declared.

Dr. Louise Grimmer from UTAS
Louise Grimmer says with lower spending and the impact of COVID on supply chains, retailers are going to need financial support.(ABC News: Ellen Coulter)

“Omicron has had a huge impact on retail, hospitality and travel, with many people choosing to stay home and self-isolate.

“Now what we’re starting to see is the impact on supply chains, with stores not being able to access stock and get it in-store for customers.

“Small businesses are very resilient, but they will need support to get through this – yes, government support but also local community support.”

Mr Davies said he had to change the way he stocked his shop in the wake of the pandemic.

“There are changes in demand because people don’t dress the same.

“We’ve reduced our dress styles and expanded our good casual wear, and interestingly enough, the slipper market has grown.”

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