Greek retailer Jumbo says toys stuck at ports before Christmas

ATHENS, Dec 15 (Reuters) - Greek retailer Jumbo said on Tuesday thousands of containers filled with toys it ordered months before Christmas remain stuck at ports around the world as warehouses in Greece are overwhelmed due to COVID-19 restrictions.

A Greek website said Jumbo had about 6,000 containers stuck on cargo ships. A company official told Reuters the “figure is impressive, but it’s real”.

“Containers are coming from different parts of the world but to unload them, we need to have space at our warehouses,” the official said, declining to be named. The official would not say where the cargo ships were docked.

Non-essential retailers in Greece have had to close since a second lockdown in early November, but even though new cases have dropped in recent days the government says they will not be able to reopen before Jan. 8.

This leaves them only with online selling during the Christmas season.

Greece has allowed what it calls “Click Away” shopping, where retailers receive online and phone orders and then book a time for customers to collect the merchandise outside stores.

Jumbo, with 52 stores in Greece and 28 in Romania, Bulgaria and Cyprus, said last week it was stopping online sales after orders surged beyond its capacity.

“With an annual turnover of about 1 billion euros ... Jumbo cannot get all this stream of sales through the needle of online shopping,” the official said.

Online sales were about 2.5% of annual turnover before the pandemic. Jumbo increased that to about 4.5% but cannot go any further, the official said.

In a trading update on Monday, Jumbo said 2020 will be a “lost year” for sales as its shops remained closed during the Easter and Christmas periods, which together account for 45% of revenue. (Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou; Editing by Giles Elgood)