Excess supply weighs on major retailers amid supply chain issues – The Ticker
Some retail chains have announced that they will stock unsold items in their inventory as they face sluggish consumer demand and a growing burden of overstocked items.
Retailers – including Kohl’s Corp., Gap Inc., Carter’s Inc. and Target Corp. – said they tidy unsold goods with the intention of reselling them next year.
This transition from a shortage to a surplus for retailers happened quickly. From the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, shoppers were forced to stay home and stores were forced to close. As a result, retailers had to cancel orders from foreign suppliers.
Retailers faced a shortage due to delays at container ports and factories once economic activity picked up. As a result, retailers have been proactively ordering excess quantities of product to be better prepared for the growing demand.
Nonetheless, inflation-weary consumers cut back on non-essentials and redirected their money to soaring food and gas prices, creating a glut of discretionary items.
Various strategies are used by retailers to get rid of inventory in the least expensive way.
Kohl’s kept up to $82 million the penalty of inventory. Carter’s also has a glut of merchandise for sale at retail outlets in another season.
The latest move by several chains solves the problem, as retailers will not be forced to immediately apply discounts to products and can sell them at a higher price in the future when demand strengthens.
The downside to this strategy, however, is that retailers don’t have enough inventory space and must decide what to do with their unsold merchandise. There is also the risk that stock in storage may no longer be to consumer liking in the future and therefore may not sell.
To avoid this problem, retailers like Target are Chopped offlower commodity prices, especially during the Labor Day holiday, to attract demand and free up storage. But these companies risk diluting the brand.
Target reported a 90% drop in profits and price cuts left it with 36% more inventory than last year. Moreover, his net income tear down significantly to $183 million, compared to the $1.8 billion it brought in during the same period last year.
Retailers turn to liquidators to sale surplus goods. In return, they only receive a fraction of the item’s value, but for them it still counts as a gain as they free up space while earning money for their products.
Such tendencies hit rival retailers like Walmart Inc. and Home Depot Inc. a little differently. They both reported higher sales last quarter, which were boosted by consumers’ willingness to absorb price increases. Both Walmart and Home Depot said sales increased in part because of higher prices.
Walmart, however, expects an 8%-10% drop in annual earnings. This drop in revenue is not as significant as that of other retailers, as much of its sales and profits depend on essentials such as groceries and not primarily discretionary items.
Walmart also reported that the number of middle- and upper-income shoppers had increased.
While this is good news for the Federal Reserve, with consumer spending down in some ways, it’s a tough time for retailers with inflation and a strong reversal in buying behavior.
Overall retail sales – a measure of spending in stores, online and in restaurants – were apartment in July, when gasoline prices fell. But it was the long-awaited and desired outcome of the Fed to raise interest rates.
The American supply chain faces pressures on its trade routes. One of them is a stack of German containers due to the port workers strike, leaving many of these storage containers stranded ashore. The other pressure is power rationing in China amid a heatwave, shutting down many manufacturing centers.
Glutted inventory, shrinking margins and unpredictable consumer demand are causing turbulence in the economy. If this difficult period passes with minor losses, however, the United States will be one step closer to balancing economic activity again.