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Christmas tree businesses fear shortages are expected | UK | News


One year after the first Christmas under Covid in the UK, Boris Johnson just assured the nation that this year will expect a much more traditional celebration. On his plane to New York, Johnson told reporters: “We certainly don’t want or expect to have to do anything like last Christmas… That is very much not the plan.”

The Prime Minister later insisted to Sky News that “Christmas is on.”

However, professionals from the Christmas tree business might disagree with Mr Johnson as their best-selling period of the year is expected to be a “real challenge”.

In the UK, demand for a tree might be way higher than the market has to offer, which would mean an increase in prices and a quick shortage of trees as soon as the Christmas season starts.

“Our main grower supplies the market with 100,000 Christmas trees each year and employs between 50 and 70 workers during the peak of the season,” Mark Rofe, owner of ChristmasTrees.co.uk, told Metro.

“In previous years they were reliant on foresters, mostly from Eastern Europe who would come over for the harvest and then would return to their home country afterwards, but since the Brexit transition, they just aren’t able to come over to work now.”

“They have found it a real challenge to cover their workforce with local labour.”

Mr Rofe added: “It’s going to be more challenging to get hold of a real Christmas tree this festive season, however, if you are able to get one, you can expect to be paying more than you would have in previous years.”

“Wholesale prices have increased between 5% and 10% just this year.”

READ MORE: Wetherspoons to slash food and drink prices across pubs on Thursday

Local Christmas trees grower struggle with the same challenge according to Mr Rofe.

“They are seeing an increase in demand for their product, especially from clients who would usually import their trees from Europe, but are keen to avoid any red-tape that could increase costs or cause delays for what is of course a highly seasonal and time-sensitive business.”

On top of being a seasonal product, Christmas trees aren’t the easiest to produce as they take an average of 10 years to grow.

“It’s not a case of simply just cutting more trees, especially when you don’t have the labour to harvest them, or the haulage to transport them across the country,” said Mark Rofe.

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In America, artificial tree professionals are also worried about a shortage of stock.

Chris Butler, CEO of the National Tree Company in Cranford, New Jersey, said to CNN he expects to sell 1.5 to 2 million artificial trees this year due to a 25% percent increase in demand.

But he worries that if demand is too robust, he might not be adequately stocked to meet it because of shipping delays.

The bulk of the company’s products are made in China.

Butler said National Tree Company is raising its wholesale tree prices by 20% to 25% because of exorbitant freight costs.

Retailers, in turn, might pass along some of this price increase to consumers, he added.





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