The Home Depot has arranged for several container vessels for exclusive use, a move president & COO Ted Decker called “a creative solution to better serve our customers in this dynamic environment,” during its call with analysts. “While our in-stock levels are still not where we want them to be,” he said in August during the Q2 2021 report, “we are maintaining the improvements we made over the last few quarters in building depth in key categories as evidenced by inventory growing faster than sales compared to the same period last year.”
[See also: RIS’ Annual Supply Chain Technology Study]
While work is being done to improve supply chains, some retailers see the writing on the wall for operations.
Bed Bath & Beyond CFO Gustavo Arnal said at the end of September that the retailer is “committed to being transparent” and it’s expecting approximately flat comparable sales for its third quarter of 2021. The guidance considers September trends, “including the supply chain challenges we're experiencing as well as the importance of the month of November,” he said. Bed Bath & Beyond is also hyper-focused on offsetting inflation with strategic pricing and promotion optimization actions, Arnal noted during the Q2 2021 earnings call.
Consumer FOMO Setting In
As retailers move to alleviate supply chain disruption, it remains to be seen how shoppers will be impacted this holiday season. Toy executive Isaac Larian, CEO of MGA Entertainment —the maker of LOL Surprise and Little Tikes— told CNBC last week the company currently has enough inventory to meet around 65% of its outstanding orders.
"Get out and buy toys now,” Ed Desmond, executive vice president of external affairs at The Toy Association said when he joined Port of Los Angeles executive director gene Seroka’s virtual press conference in September. "Right now, toy manufacturers are doing everything in their power to ensure a good supply in stores for the holidays, but we just don’t know what’s going to happen down the road as we get closer to Christmas.”
Desmond discussed the impact persisting supply chain issues at U.S. ports. are having on the 85% of toys sold in the U.S. that are manufactured in Asia and rely heavily on the nation’s largest ports (particularly, on the West Coast in LA and Long Beach).
[See also: 2021 Holiday Retail Forecasts and Predictions]
And if a toy crisis isn’t enough, toilet paper woes may be creeping back up again.
U.S. consumers are once again stocking up on food and home essentials, according to a recent Oracle Retail survey conducted in September. It found 47% of U.S. shoppers planned to stock up on toilet paper/paper towels.