Strikes and national unrest in China are having a knock-on effect in Britain’s tackle shops, with many dealers struggling to buy branded gear manufactured in Far East factories.
With top-named tackle still on the factory floor, stacked up in ports waiting to be shipped, or on boats making their way to the UK, retailers are battling to deliver customers’ orders.
It comes in a tough year for British tackle shops, which are already feeling the pinch due to the recession.
“The economic downturn seems to have hit China hard. We’ve heard that some of the workforce was laid off and returned to working the fields,” explained Richard Hearth, retail manager at popular Peterborough tackle outlet Sheltons.
“A lot of the major tackle manufacturers appear to have been affected. When anglers are screaming for tackle and shops have empty shelves it’s a nightmare. We’re fortunate in that we tend to hold a lot of stock, but the situation is starting to get worrying, even for us ¬ I’ve never known anything like it.” Another tackle shop experiencing trouble sourcing stock is Lewis’ Anglers World, in Norwich.
“When you’re a retail outlet there’s such a small window of opportunity from May to September when you have to make up much of your annual sales, that if you’re suffering shortages in stock it can really set you back,” insisted owner Lewis Murawski.
Angling Times understands one of the big issues in China centres around the emergence of new factories inland, away from traditional manufacturing bases close to ports. These new businesses are now attracting the former migrant workers who are choosing to stay at home with their families rather than travel to the coast for six months at a time.
Preston Innovations director Ricky Teale confirmed that a changing country had altered the manufacturing landscape.
“As China gets richer, employment and expectations become very different and factories have to evolve to make their jobs attractive.
“It currently takes almost twice as long to get your designs manufactured and delivered into the country, but that isn’t unique to angling, or indeed the UK. The world has to live with it. The Chinese factories are aware of the issues and are working very hard for a solution,” explained Ricky.