Supply chain woes have retailers thinking ahead

Marielle Segarra Jun 9, 2021
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Some things (like decorations) are easier for retailers to purchase ahead of time to guarantee they'll be stocked for the holiday shopping season and avoid supply chain disruptions. Jack Taylor/Getty Images

Supply chain woes have retailers thinking ahead

Marielle Segarra Jun 9, 2021
Heard on:
Some things (like decorations) are easier for retailers to purchase ahead of time to guarantee they'll be stocked for the holiday shopping season and avoid supply chain disruptions. Jack Taylor/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

The Biden administration just announced a plan to strengthen critical supply chains, which have been weakened during the pandemic. Meanwhile, given bottlenecks caused by pandemic distortions of factory output and our buying habits, retailers already buying for the 2021 holiday season are facing shortages and delays of computer chips, plastics and more.

Believe it or not, early June is the time that retailers usually place their of orders for the winter holidays — at least, the first round.

“They leave some space open to get stuff in closer to, you know, the actual demand, to see what shoppers want,” said Tiffany Hogan, a director at consulting firm Kantar. “That might be a little bit harder to do this year, based on the fact that they don’t know if they can reliably get what they want later than now.”

It’s easier for retailers to buy certain products well ahead of time, the ones they know customers will want, like holiday decorations.

Marc Iampieri at the consulting firm AlixPartners said they’d rather wait longer for something like clothing. “For things that are kind of perishable from the standpoint of popularity, those are ones where there’s a lot more risk in placing your bets well in advance to buffer for these supply chain delays.”

If retailers do decide to hold off this year, Iampieri said they could spend extra to have products shipped express, but shipping rates are going up.

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