Supply chain issues are threatening to put a damper on holiday shopping this year, with some retailers worried about having enough inventory to last throughout the season.
According to Deloitte’s 2021 Holiday Retail Survey, about two-thirds of retail executives surveyed were concerned about receiving inventory in time for the holidays and 43% expect delivery delays.
The survey also shows 43% of retailers ordered earlier this year then in the past, citing mostly supply chain challenges and expectations consumers would start holiday shopping sooner.
The Deloitte report also says holiday inventory orders rose by the single digits for four in 10 retailers and increased by the double digits for three in 10.
Many of the big-name retailers bulked up on products to prepare for what’s expected to be a record-breaking shopping season this year.
Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, said its inventory was up 11.5% ahead of the holiday shopping madness.
“Despite the various macro and industry challenges, our inventory position is good. Stores and fulfillment centers are well-staffed, and our price position remains strong,” Walmart CFO Brett Biggs told investors recently, adding that customers “should expect to find the items they want at great values.”
Walmart U.S. CEO John Furner said the retailer has an advantage over many competitors, noting that about two-thirds of items the company sources are from within the U.S.
“So we've got a lot of flexibility in terms of being able to balance this out,” he told investors.
Home Depot says its inventory is up 27% to $20.6 billion as of the end of the third quarter versus last year and executives said they’ve been stocking new facilities.
“So, not only have we improved our in-store stocking levels and been able to meet the accelerating demand through the quarter, but we're also … stocking all those new facilities,” Home Depot president and COO Ted Decker said.
Target says it has an additional $2 billion in inventory heading into this holiday season, up about 18% from last year.
“Within our supply chain, the team has been methodically working around multiple obstacles and challenges throughout the network, prioritizing our holiday-sensitive categories within our import receipts,” Target COO John Mulligan told investors recently.
“And while we continue to see some periodic outages across different items and categories, we're entering the holidays with a very healthy inventory position overall.”
The Deloitte survey shows three quarters of consumers are concerned about stockouts, especially with electronics, accessories, toys and hobbies.
About half of shoppers expect electronics and accessories shipments to be delayed, followed by toys and hobbies at 35% and each of home and kitchen, food and beverage and clothing and accessories at about 20%.
About a quarter of consumers said they didn’t expect to find items out of stock.