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Shortage of games consoles blamed on high cost in US

Popular present: Games consoles are proving hard to find in the run-up to Christmas (Photograph supplied)

Retailers have stopped shipping in two hot-ticket electronic gadgets in the run-up to Christmas – because the cost is prohibitive.

Games fans who wanted to buy the latest Sony PlayStation or Microsoft Xbox consoles have been frustrated by low online on-island availability and sky-high prices of both items.

The shortage had led to a wave of complaints on social media.

Commentators accused retailers who do have limited stock of “daylight robbery”.

One said on the Maj’s List Facebook page: “Bermuda is the only places where stores are able to triple the price on every single item.”

Another poster suggested that the manufacturers of both products should sue Bermuda retailers for what was claimed to be excessive markups.

Another post read: “That’s daylight robbery. Disgusting to say the least, and sums up our retail situation on island.”

But last night retailers hit back and claimed that high demand, along with “scalping” by businesses in the US, meant it was impossible to bring the consoles in at a reasonable price.

A spokesman for Red Laser an electronics dealer in Pembroke, said the firm had decided not to bring in the consoles because it could not buy them at wholesale prices.

The spokesman said that, because of the small volume of product that retailers normally ship in, they could not deal with the manufacturers direct and had to work through middlemen.

But they added that high demand meant that distributors had struggled to find sources who sold the goods at reasonable rates.

The spokesman said: “Businesses are buying these products by the thousands and then selling them on with a huge mark-up – because they know they’re going to sell.

“So even our regular distributors are being squeezed out. They’re having to sell them on to us at retail rather than wholesale prices.

“There’s huge demand, and regrettably Bermuda is a long way down the chain.

“That’s why we made the decision not to bring the new models in – because prices were just too ridiculous.”

Tamara Richardson, the vice-president of sales and operations at The People’s Pharmacy, backed the claim.

She said store brought in a shipment of consoles earlier this month to fulfil pre-existing orders, but had warned that the price would be high.

Ms Richardson added: “The gaming consoles are available for special order only and it was clearly communicated to the people on our waiting list that these were available at above market rates as there was simply no supply at US listed retail prices.

“Our suppliers have been trying since October to get stock but have had to resort to buying at retail, often at these inflated prices, and passing that extra cost on to us.”

Ms Richardson added: “Once we factor in duty and freight the cost is what we have shared with our customers.

“These goods are no longer stocked at the People’s Pharmacy as we feel the price is too costly for us to risk. We haven’t placed any more orders.

“But we felt we would pass on the option to those willing to spend the funds and pay a premium to hopefully have in time for Christmas.”

Ms Richardson highlighted that even US retail giants had struggled to keep up with demand.

She said: “If you log on to any major retailer in the US – Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, B&H Audio – they are out of stock.

“What you are left with are eBay sellers selling at $1,300 and above.

“To me, the PlayStation 5 this year can be likened to Tickle Me Elmo that launched and created such a frenzy. It sold for ridiculous prices back then.”

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Published December 18, 2020 at 9:26 am (Updated December 18, 2020 at 9:25 am)

Shortage of games consoles blamed on high cost in US

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