Retail Dive: Retailers Gear Up for Peak Season

Oct 14, 2021

67% of retailers said that supply chains have been heavily affected by COVID-19. This peak season will bring upon new challenges as shipment volume is expected to increase. 

“It’s going to be a rough holiday, and I think it’s going to be a holiday unlike anything we’ve seen before,” Matt Garfield, Managing Director in FTI shared in an interview. “We’re going to see a lot of bare shelves.”  

Expensive holiday season

According to different researches, holiday sales are expected to rise from 9% to 13%. 80% of surveyed people have more demand for decorations and parties this year, to make up for the gloomy 2020. However, even under normal circumstances, the ocean freight is still clogged. There are limited ships, containers and the ports are clogged. The holiday season will aggravate this congestion. 

Chris Butler, CEO of decoration wholesaler National Tree Company also predicted a “perfect storm for empty shelves”. He also added: “We know there are retailers that aren’t able to get even half of what they wanted.” The shortage in supply and the rise in demand will definitely lead to one of the most unforgettable and expensive holiday seasons for customers. 

Effort from retailers

Walmart, Home Depot and Ikea have chartered their own ships to ensure goods get delivered on time. Others have chosen the last resort of air freight to transport products, which is much more expensive. This is the privilege of larger, higher volume, and well-capitalized retailers. Smaller players are unlikely to be able to absorb those extra costs. However, even the biggest retailers will have a hard time to keep their margins and keep their shelves fully stocked in the rough holiday season ahead.

Source: ‘We’re going to see a lot of bare shelves’: Retail preps for a holiday beset by supply chain pain

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