Pandemic-related delays force retailers to tweak holiday messages

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NEW YORK, Oct 11 (Businesshala) – Season’s greetings from your favorite retailer come with a 2021-style postscript.

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Which gift would you like to get for your loved one? It may be out of stock. And the hot toy? It can’t come in time for Christmas.

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According to Deloitte, Americans are collectively expected to spend more than $1.3 trillion this holiday season, up from $1.19 trillion in 2020. But retailers are facing inventory shortages as well as scarce labor at ports, driver shortages, rising warehousing costs and high prices.

That’s why they’re encouraging shoppers to open their wallets earlier this year, fearing what the retailers described in marketing materials as “supply chain challenges,” “long delivery times” and “low inventory.” generate.

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(ZUMZ.O) website, surf- and skateboard-wear retailer, carries a banner that reads: “Don’t let out-of-stock items and shipping delays spoil your plans.” The mall-based retailer imports merchandise primarily from Asia, Mexico and Central America. It did not immediately return messages seeking comment.

Nordstrom (JWN.N), which usually brings in about 20% of its merchandise from China, sent a holiday marketing email to customers on Thursday, citing “global supply chain challenges” that they said could potentially be used for holiday shopping plans. But there will be a loss.

Nordstrom President Peter Nordstrom and CEO Eric Nordstrom said in a joint email message to customers, “We’re anticipating that the hottest gifts may sell out on our site and shipping may take longer than we all think.” Nordstrom declined to comment.

In surveys conducted by consulting firms, some shopkeepers have earlier said that they are concerned about stock availability and have even seen empty shelves already by August. Although half of US consumers surveyed in August by Sensormatic Solutions indicated they would start their holiday shopping before November, there is no evidence of Christmas-related panic buying, at least not yet.

The president of work-apparel retailer Carhartt told shoppers in an email Wednesday that he’s aware of its “long delivery times and low inventory” and its “false product availability” problems: “Now that decline is on the horizon, it’s going to make a difference.” It’s time to start thinking about the holidays….We encourage you to receive your order as soon as possible for on-time delivery at the best possible,” said Linda Hubbard.

Carhartt’s clothing is made in the United States and Mexico. The company declined to comment.

The supply stalemate is putting pressure on all retailers, but especially those — including Best Buy Company (BBY.N), Gap (GPS.N) Old Navy and Bed, Bath & Beyond (BBBY.O) — who receive most of their goods. From manufacturers based in Asia and who tend to bring products on ships through Southern California ports.

Due to shortages of workers, truck drivers and equipment, more than 60 container ships at anchor at the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports could not unload holiday cargo as of October 11, according to the Marine Exchange of Southern California.

Best Buy CEO Corey Barry said in August that unprecedented demand could result in “some level of inventory crunch” for the rest of the year, adding that items like home theaters and large appliances may be harder to obtain. has gone.

The electronics chain said it expects to offer fewer holiday promotions than it did two years ago, even though they increased compared to last year. A spokesperson for Best Buy declined to provide details.

peak day, every day

“The declining popularity of Black Friday, with consumers starting their holiday shopping early, means that retailers and brands need to engage consumers throughout the season,” said Jill Standish, Head of Retail Group, Accenture.

“It requires retailers to operate every day like its peak day.”

Americans could face higher prices and some empty shelves this Christmas season, White House officials warned as US ports, highways and railways braced for global supply constraints.

Walmart (WMT.N) Sam’s Club said Friday that it is offering more holiday events than in 2020 and holds them earlier in fall. But many analysts say they expect to see less doorbuster price promotions than usual over the past holiday season because retailers simply may not have enough merchandise on hand in the first place.

“Behind those big discounts will be very limited supply,” said Kristin McGraw, shopping expert for deal tracking website BlackFriday.com.

Reporting by Ariana Macklemore, Editing by Nick Ziminsky

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