Austen Hufford and Sharon Terlep — The Wall Street Journal
After two years of disruption, supply chains are almost back to normal. That means shelves should be fully stocked, and some prices actually will be lower this holiday season, industry executive and analysts say.
“The script has been flipped,” said Steve Pasierb, president of manufacturing group The Toy Association. “From a supply-chain standpoint, it’s the opposite of last year.”
To be sure, isolated shortages persist, and only some items are seeing lower prices. Overall inflation is still high and squeezing incomes.
Still, the widespread stockouts that marked the last two holiday seasons are largely absent thanks to increased capacity throughout the supply chain, slackening demand driven by spending shifts from goods to services and higher interest rates, and a “new normal” for supply-chain management that emphasizes earlier delivery lead times and heftier inventories.
Companies from big-box chains to makers of apparel and luxury goods to smaller and specialty retailers say they expect to be well stocked for the holidays.
“We have been chasing in-stock for the last two and a half years, and we’re finally in a great position going into the holiday event period,” Kathryn McLay, chief executive of Walmart Inc.’s Sam’s Club division, said Tuesday.
Target Corp., in a reversal from a year ago, said Wednesday it was rolling out deep holiday discounts and shortening lead times for product orders after shipments arrived more quickly than anticipated, leading to a buildup of items.
At smaller chains, the story is the same.
Read the whole story at wsj.com