Teletubby Xmas shortage looms

Industry experts are predicting a shortage of Teletubby toys this Christmas, after an admission by merchandising licence holder Golden Bear that it cannot boost supply to meet demand.

The company expects to supply British retailers with up to 1 million Teletubby dolls in the run-up to Christmas. The toys are based on the extraordinarily popular daily children’s BBC TV show.

But Gerry Masters, secretary of the British Association of Toy Retailers, predicts there will be a shortage of Teletubby dolls in shops, which could cost millions of pounds in lost sales by Christmas.

“Golden Bear didn’t make enough to satisfy the pre-school market,” says Masters.

A spokeswoman for Golden Bear confirms low initial orders by retailers made earlier this year has created a shortage of supply.

“Our first shipment of 80,000 began to reach the stores in August, and was based on orders made in January by retailers before the show began transmission,” she says.

Hamleys toy store in London’s Regent Street confirms that up to half of telephone calls to its flagship store this week are coming from parents enquiring about availability of the dolls, which retail between 9.99 and 14.99. Hamleys has sold out twice already.

But the BBC says its plans for Teletubbies go beyond Christmas: “The demand will be there throughout next year and beyond. The programme is watched daily, and our merchandising deals are aimed at developing products which can be marketed in the long term.”

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