Santa Claus Is Coming -- But He'll Skip Some Stores in U.S. Americans have big shopping lists but face emptier shelves and less help this shopping season amid supply-chain and hiring woes

Asia's Tech News Daily
Santa Claus Is Coming -- But He'll Skip Some Stores in U.S.  Americans have big shopping lists but face emptier shelves and less help this shopping season amid supply-chain and hiring woes

Empty shelves are seen at an IKEA store in the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn borough in New York City on October 15. Getty Images/AFP

'It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags.”

Christmas came to Whoville, despite the Grinch’s efforts to steal it, and it will come to the U.S. this year, despite all the supply-chain and staffing problems the pandemic has brought on.

Those boxes and bags will cost more, though, helping the best-positioned retailers avoid markdowns and offset spiraling costs.

Americans will grit their teeth and pay up and, when they can’t find just the right physical item, they will opt for more virtual ones — digital games, gift cards and subscriptions.

In terms of dollars spent, it will be a holiday season to remember. For companies that can’t provide consumers with what they want, though, it will be the season that might have been.

When it comes to stocking physical shelves everything, it seems, is in short supply.

Goods made overseas are slow to ship, slow to arrive, and then left to sit on the dock for days waiting to be moved from port.

Nike said last month that it is taking roughly twice as much time to move products from Asia to North America as usual, for example. The delays don’t end there either, with trucking companies struggling to hire enough drivers to keep goods moving.

Retailers have labor concerns, too.

As of the end of August, there were 1.3 million unfilled job openings in the sector, according to the Labor Department, compared with 901,000 in August of 2019.

Since then, a number of retailers have announced ambitious hiring plans for the holiday shopping season.

Both Amazon.com and Walmart have said they would like to hire 150,000 seasonal workers, for example. Stores unwilling or unable to pay up for labor face the prospect of struggling to serve customers during the most profitable time of the year.

Still, it is hardly as if nothing is making it into ports and onto store shelves.

More shipping containers arrived at the four busiest American container ports in July and August than during the same months of 2020 and 2019.

Commerce Department figures show the value of inventories at general merchandise retailers, a group that includes giants such as Walmart and Target, as well as department stores, came to a seasonally adjusted $87.2 billion in August compared with $76.3 last August and $82 billion in August 2019.

Keeping things on store shelves when demand for wares is strong is another matter: The ratio of inventory to sales at retailers of all stripes is significantly lower than it was before the pandemic.

That’s because people are heading into the holidays with plenty of available money to spend: Rising incomes, government relief checks and reduced spending early in the pandemic have left people with more to spend.

Federal Reserve figures show that, as of the end of the second quarter, Americans of all incomes held more cash and cash equivalents than a year earlier or prior to the pandemic.

Falling Covid cases, the expected vaccine eligibility for younger children and the wide availability of jobs could make it a season of cheer for shoppers.

Many of those shoppers are aware of supply-chain constraints and have begun shopping for gifts earlier than usual.

A survey from The NPD Group showed that 51% of U.S. consumers plan to start their 2021 holiday shopping before Thanksgiving Day, up slightly from last year.

Retailers are nudging shoppers to do so: Amazon started offering “Black Friday-worthy deals” on Oct. 4 and Target started its holiday deals event on Oct. 10. Best Buy and Kohl’s have also already begun their holiday sales events.

Best-placed to benefit from shoppers’ eagerness to spend are the companies with the means and scale to work around some of the shipping snags to keep their shelves well-stocked.

Walmart, Home Depot, Costco and Target are among those paying for their own chartered ships, for example, which should allow them to bring holiday-specific products most likely to fly off the shelves.

Meanwhile, retailers selling higher-value goods such as electronics and luxury items will be able to shell out more for air freight compared to dollar stores that sell cheaper items.

Sellers with non-traditional sourcing models, such as Etsy, will still face transportation delays but could have an edge over traditional retail because those products are made in many people’s homes or warehouses, not concentrated in a few factories abroad.

One wild card is whether consumers will spend heavily on material gifts — as they did last holiday season — when vaccinations are allowing people to eat out and travel again.

A survey conducted by Accenture showed that roughly 43% of consumers plan to redirect their holiday-season spending to gifts that don’t come in physical packages such as travel, dining out, concerts and salon treatments.

Moreover, consumers who are unable to locate what they want on shop shelves might opt for non-physical alternatives.

A shopper who can’t find the latest game console might opt for a gift card from GameStop or Steam to download video games instead, for example.

More people may also opt for gift cards for restaurants — including large chains like Darden Restaurants — or even websites that offer experiences like StubHub or Groupon.

Those that can’t find the yoga pants or gym gear they want for their friends may choose to get fitness subscriptions for them instead on Peloton or ClassPass.

Americans will spend plenty of money this Christmas, but not every retailer is going to get a pony.

Internet Explorer Channel Network
Asia's Tech News Daily
News Related

OTHER NEWS

Corona unemployed find work again

This is evident from new figures from Statistics Netherlands (CBS). “For the second quarter in a row, there were fewer social assistance recipients than a year earlier,” reports the CBS. ... Read more »

The North Face opens largest Asia store with 3,800 sq ft at K11, betting on Hong Kong's retail recovery

The North Face, the US-based brand known for its outdoor apparel and mountaineering gear and equipment, is set to open its largest store in Asia-Pacific in what could be the ... Read more »

Group of social assistance recipients smaller than before corona

Photo: ANP For the first time, about as many people receive social assistance benefits as before the corona crisis. This is reported by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) based on figures for ... Read more »

Thailand to boost tourism by making crypto payments easier

The authority will create a new unit to handle crypto token issuances, wallet production, and building a new tourism ecosystem. Thailand hopes to attract cryptocurrency holders while promoting its tourist ... Read more »

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey hands reins to technology chief Parag Agrawal

Twitter’s board has been preparing for Jack Dorsey’s departure since last year. SAN FRANCISCO (REUTERS) – Twitter chief executive officer Jack Dorsey is stepping down from his role and chief ... Read more »

Talks between NT and operators ditched Board seeking ways to return spectrum

The return of spectrum licences to the regulator would impact state benefits as the licensee is obligated to place licence payment instalments until the end of the payment term. The ... Read more »

Rua Bioscience plans share issue to buy medicinal cannabis company Zalm for $10 million

NZ-listed Rua Bioscience has entered into a deal to buy Zalm Therapeutics, a New Zealand-based medicinal cannabis company, for $10 million. Rua plans to fund the purchase through a share ... Read more »

Number of social assistance recipients continues to fall

The number of people receiving social assistance benefits continues to decrease. At the end of September, 419,000 people up to the state pension age were receiving social assistance benefits. That ... Read more »

Rua Bioscience plans share issue to buy Zalm for $10m

NZ-listed Rua Bioscience has entered into a deal to buy Zalm Therapeutics, a New Zealand-based medicinal cannabis company, for $10 million. Rua plans to fund the purchase through a share ... Read more »

Central's midnight sale campaign is back

The Midnight Sale has been Central Department Store's signature campaign for over three decades. Last Friday saw the launch of a new shopping campaign, which combines post-Thanksgiving Black Friday with ... Read more »

Talk to discuss future of upskilling employees

photo courtesy of Conicle Knowledge evolves rapidly with a direct impact on organisations, their strategies and work structures, making skills and personal development even more essential. In this context, the ... Read more »

Pucker up for the matte look Burberry Kisses embrace bold colours

Four new caps with fashion-inspired motifs. Dolce&Gabbana The latest tubes are loaded with bold colours along with a matte texture that “speak” louder on lips. Launched in May, Burberry Kisses ... Read more »

Covid complications The ongoing pandemic has stressed an already tight housing market, endangering the lives of nearly 2 billion lower-income people worldwide

Habitat for Humanity Thailand is building homes for the least fortunate. Photos Courtesy of Habitat For Humanity Thailand The health and economic impact of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has heightened ... Read more »

Street artist Parinya Sirisinsuk returns with a new exhibition

Painted skateboards by Benzilla. photo courtesy of River City Bangkok LOOOK, a three-eyed alien and a famous character of renowned Thai street artist Parinya Sirisinsuk aka Benzilla, takes centre stage ... Read more »

State projects set to boost 2022 construction income

A section of Bang Pa-in-Nakhon Ratchasima motorway that passes alongside the Lam Takhong reservoir in Nakhon Ratchasima’s Sikhiu district. The domestic construction market is expected to grow by 6% to ... Read more »

Arkhom vows to create jobs Finance minister eyes income-raising drive

A tourist enjoys the panoramic view from Phra Tamnak hill in Pattaya which has seen tourists return following the reopening of the country this month. Nutthawat Wicheanbut The government will introduce ... Read more »

Sizzler eyes expansion, marketing push

Mrs Nongchanok said Sizzler has gradually redesigned its outlets under a new concept to offer a fresh dining experience, starting with its restaurant at The Mall Thaphra. SLRT, the operator ... Read more »

Doing his duty Artist Surajate Tongchua's latest exhibition 'Priceless' presents his views about the government and the structure of Thai society in the 21st century

Left Artist Surajate Tongchua and a work from ‘Priceless’. Photo © Manycuts Artspace | Ari In May 2014, artist Surajate Tongchua was in a bank to pay his bills when the ... Read more »

Ministry to reduce prices of 74 agrochemical items

The Commerce Ministry's Internal Trade Department has teamed up with importers and traders to reduce the prices of 74 items of agrochemical products by as much as 35% for three ... Read more »

Omicron will not affect reopening, says Phiphat Relaxation of booze sales on the cards

Chinese tourists arrive at Suvarnabhumi Airport during the first day of the country’s reopening on Nov 1. REUTERS Thailand will not take a step back from the reopening plan despite uncertainty ... Read more »

Ministry ready to allot more funds if required

The Finance Ministry stands ready to inject additional money to revive the economy if the Omicron coronavirus variant hits the country, said the Fiscal Policy Office (FPO) director-general Pornchai Thiraveja. ... Read more »

Line TV closes citing intense competition, rising costs

Line Thailand closed down its operation of Line TV after eight years amid intense competition of streaming services and the high cost of content licences. “Regarding the change of business ... Read more »

Noble bullish on property market next year 18 projects worth B47.4bn lined up

SET-listed developer Noble Development Plc is bullish about the 2022 property market, planning to launch 18 new projects worth a combined 47.4 billion baht with nearly half being joint ventures ... Read more »

Bourses drop as investors fret over Omicron variant impact

The Thai stock market, along with the global stock markets, continued to drop on Monday as investors assess risks and uncertainties surrounding the newly emerged Omicron Covid variant. The SET ... Read more »

Full services begin along SRT Red Line Fares from B12-42, trains until midnight

A station employee holds up adult, student and senior citizen rail passes which can be used to travel on the State Railway of Thailand’s Red Line commuter services, which began ... Read more »

Government must gird for new Covid variants

The government is revving up urgent plans to cope with the new Covid-19 variants and vows to go ahead next year with plans to strengthen exports, accelerate investment and retain ... Read more »

Powell: more uncertainty in inflation and the economy due to Omikron

Photo: ANP The arrival of the Omikron variant increases the risk of inflation and possibly puts a brake on the American economy. Employment is also under pressure again, Federal Reserve ... Read more »

Rangers rescue snared elephant calf

An elephant calf that was injured after falling into a trap in Chanthaburi has been rescued. The injured animal was spotted by villagers in Khao Sip Ha Chan National Park ... Read more »

US' Blinken to visit 'soon', Prayut says

Blinken: Has planto visit region Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said the United States' Secretary of State Antony Blinken is planning to visit Thailand “soon”. The PM said the plan shows ... Read more »

Booze till 11pm to be allowed at eateries

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) has agreed to allow restaurants to serve alcohol until 11pm starting tomorrow. In an announcement signed by Bangkok governor Pol Gen Aswin Kwanmuang, operators certified ... Read more »

Delay risk to eased tests Omicron threatens ATK entry plan for travellers

People queue up to buy the 40-baht antigen test kit offered by the Government Pharmaceutical Organization in Bangkok last month. A pack of five ATKs costs 200 baht, or 800 ... Read more »

PM calls for hearings on station plan

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has asked the Transport Ministry to quickly organise hearings to gauge the public's opinion on the commercial development of Bangkok's Hua Lamphong station, which will be ... Read more »

Push to reduce trafficking Govt seeks upgrade in US 'TIP' ranking

Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon has ordered relevant authorities to intensify efforts to combat human trafficking and forced labour as the country aims to improve the country's ranking in the ... Read more »

114 car dealers face tax evasion case

The Department of Special Investigation is coordinating with the Department of Land Transport to take legal action against 114 luxury car importers who were found to have evaded paying taxes ... Read more »

Police probe Amnesty as royalists rally

A group of activists leads a lion dance troupe as they parade through Silom Road seeking people’s support to ban Amnesty International Thailand over its comments after the Constitutional Court ... Read more »

Wall Street rebounds after virus-related sell-off

Investors were hopeful that the Omicron variant would not lead to lockdowns after reassurance from US President Joe Biden. NEW YORK (REUTERS) – Wall Street stocks closed higher on Monday ... Read more »

Powell says COVID variant clouds inflation, economic outlook

WASHINGTON — Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell says that the appearance of a new COVID-19 variant could slow the economy and hiring, while also raising uncertainty about inflation. The recent ... Read more »

Hertz, Lee Enterprises rise; Walmart, Peloton fall

NEW YORK — Stocks that traded heavily or had substantial price changes Monday: Berry Global Group Inc., up $5.14 to $71.61. Shareholder Ancora Advisors reportedly want the packing company’s board ... Read more »

Omicron variant means 'increased uncertainty for inflation,' Fed Chair Powell says

“Greater concerns about the virus could reduce people’s willingness to work in person, which would slow progress in the labor market and intensify supply-chain disruptions,” Powell said. Read more »

NZ Refining raises $39m from share placement

NZ Refining said it had successfully completed a $39.0 million share placement to fund private storage services. The placement was underwritten at a floor price of $0.82 per share. The ... Read more »
On free-english-test.com you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic