Forget supply chain, inflation new Grinch for toy industry

Store owner says they have plenty of toys, but they just cost more due to inflation

SAN ANTONIO – Santa has nothing on Mary Adams when it comes to toys.

The shelves at Stone Oak Learning Express are flush with Squishmallows, dolls, Hot Wheels, games and plenty of slime. Adams runs the store where, a year ago, supply chain holdups were a huge challenge.

This year, it’s just the opposite.

“We have plenty of supply,” Adams said. “We haven’t had an issue at all. Now, prices have gone up for inflation.”

Inflation is the new Grinch in town. Her wholesale costs are up about 15%, she estimated. That creates some issues for a small business like hers.

“It’s tough,” she said. “We have a Target right next to us with lots of Legos, lots of supplies, and they get their products so much cheaper. So, it’s tough.”

Rising costs of just about everything are tough on Santa’s helpers, too. Half of the people surveyed for WalletHub said Santa would be less generous this year.

“We’re budgeting lower this year, so each kid will get a lower amount,” said Tarah Pawpelek, mom to four young children.

Anticipating that parents’ budgets would be strained this year, the toy industry turned out more miniature versions or other popular toys. For example, a larger version of a toy puppy retails for $39.99. But a smaller version of the toy sells for $14.99, a more manageable price point for some.

Classics have also come back, along with toys that run more on imagination than batteries.

With so much inventory, Adams says she will definitely run sales to get the toys out the door and under trees.

Her store is also partnering with Haven for Hope. For every dollar a customer donates, the store will donate twice that amount in toys.


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About the Authors:

As a consumer reporter, Marilyn is all about helping people stay safe and save a buck. Since coming to KSAT in 1985, she’s covered everything from crime to politics, winning awards for her coverage of the Mexican Mafia, Oklahoma tornadoes, children’s transplants, an investigation into voting irregularities and even a hit-and-run Santa Claus.