Brace yourselves - the present that you were hoping Santa would put under the tree this Christmas might already be unavailable.
Retailers in Hawke's Bay are bracing for a challenging Christmas period as shipping delays blow out, with some goods almost impossible to get hold of, let alone onto shelves in time.
Hawke's Bay Chamber of Commerce this week warned retailers to get their orders in "immediately" if they haven't already, or they will miss out entirely on receiving overseas orders by Christmas.
Kitset toys, clothes, and music equipment are among the products affected - but given Covid uncertainty at the North Pole nothing being made in Santa's overseas workshops is safe.
Napier Music Machine director Richard Jackman said the current shipping delays were the worst he had seen in his 30 years in business.
He said prior to Covid, an international order for music equipment could take about six weeks to arrive.
He said it was now closer to six months or even longer.
"We have been put in a position now where we have to order in anticipation for the next six months."
Jackman said they had fortunately just received a big order of music supplies which set them up well for the coming months.
He said a lot of businesses overseas were affected during Covid or stopped producing goods, which meant there were also supply shortages and delays in getting orders to Hawke's Bay.
"We get a lot of stuff from overseas," he said.
"New Zealand is one of the last to receive stuff because it is a smaller market and it is obviously a long way away."
Jackman said some music equipment was becoming very scarce including guitar amplifiers, certain brands of guitars, and some high-tech equipment.
Jackman said customers were getting better at understanding why orders were taking longer to arrive.
"This time people are more accepting and understanding."
Hawke's Bay Chamber of Commerce chief executive Karla Lee said feedback from retailers was delivery delays and shipping costs had blown out.
She said, in some cases, international orders were taking months longer to arrive than expected.
"(Retailers) hope for the best and plan for the best but at the moment I think you actually have to plan for the worst," she said.
"My advice would be if you have not already ordered for Christmas do it immediately because of these disruptions."
She said international delivery delays were not new and it was a growing issue.
"[Retailers] do know about this and they have been having stock issues for quite some time.
"Except it is just getting worse and worse, and it will actually get worse than it is now."
Lee encouraged retailers, where they could, to order goods from within New Zealand, and for customers to get out and support local stores in the lead up to Christmas.
The Chamber's Be in the Bay website has plenty of information about local businesses and how you can support them in the lead up to Christmas.
NAPIER PORT A POTENTIAL VALVE FOR NZ
A Napier Port spokeswoman said shipping delays could last another 12 or 18 months, according to global estimates.
"Most people in the industry predict it could be a further 12 to 18 months until shipping schedules stabilise again globally," she said.
"We are not experiencing any additional delays over and above those that have been ongoing during Covid."
She said shipping costs had been rising "because of the impact of Covid and global supply chain disruption".
She said Napier Port actually had the capacity to help alleviate high shipping traffic at other New Zealand ports in the lead up to Christmas, and the port had been lobbying for that to happen.
She said that could help reduce shipping delays.
The spokeswoman said most other New Zealand ports experienced their peak season between September and March "representing that high Christmas import demand".
In contrast, Napier Port's peak season is between February and August due to the goods it exports and imports.
"Napier Port has the capacity to act as a relief valve [in the lead up to Christmas], with room for more ship calls and greater import volumes," she said.
"That is why we have been lobbying the Government for a national supply chain strategy.
"A more streamlined and resilient supply chain would reduce waste across the national network and allow for greater utilisation of resources."
A SLIM CHRISTMAS
Cool Toys, in Napier, owner Glen Chan said shipping delays, rising shipping costs, and a supply shortage had led to a challenging environment for toy stores.
"A lot of people have got into modelling and making things (from kit sets) during Covid and things like that, but supply has slowed down."
He said a drop in supply meant products such as model kit sets, slot cars, and other radio-controlled toys were really hard to get hold of.
Chan said while a lot of great toys were still available in-store, customers would have to be flexible with their shipping as some items would not be on shelves.
"It will be a very slim Christmas," he said.
Chan said they had placed orders early this year to avoid a re-run of last year.
"I did not get some stock until after Christmas last year.
"We had a lot of panic buyers around the 23rd of December who had ordered goods from overseas but it had not turned up."
Clothing store Merric, in Napier, manager Vicki Bruhns said a large shipment of clothing was meant to arrive at the store six weeks ago.
She said it was not due to arrive now for another month.
She said the store had plenty of stock for customers to choose from but it meant the latest season of clothing was going to arrive late.
"People are always looking for what is new. It is a bit hard because (stock is arriving) in dribs and drabs."
Despite shipping and supply shortages not all stores have been impacted.
Strandbags Napier confirmed they imported a lot of their bags from Australia and had seen only minor delays, while Stirling Sports Napier confirmed they had not seen any delays for their goods.