Empty and picked-over shelves have become commonplace at some retailers.
The combination of a worker shortage and supply chain issues has made it difficult for brick-and-mortar retailers to keep shelves stocked.
I visited four national retailers around Rochester, NY, to see how locations were impacted.
Target wasn’t especially disorganized…
…though I did notice more empty shelves than usual.
Home decor and outdoor furniture areas looked especially sparse.
Any kind of seating and cushions were almost completely wiped out.
The empty space isn’t surprising –
– home decor and outdoor furniture sales have exploded over the last year as people have been mostly stuck at home because of the pandemic.
Furniture has also been affected by the weeklong blockage of the Suez Canal and congestion at other ports, leading to wait times of several months in some cases.
Other outdoor recreation items also had empty spaces on shelves.
Despite having an entire wall display, there were almost no bikes on the floor, and only a few helmets.
Next up, I visited Burlington Coat Factory.
As a discount store, I was prepared for some messy shelves and disorganization.
The store definitely had plenty of empty shelf space.
The store is in a giant warehouse, though, so it felt like the space was just too big for what the store had to sell, rather than real shortages.
Shelves that seemed empty because they’d been picked over were mostly in home decor sections, much like Target.
Marshall’s had some empty shelf space, but nothing too shocking.
Summer necessities like beach towels and chairs seemed most affected.
There were some stray pieces of luggage without a display. Maybe the rest were all bought up as people anticipate traveling again.
Walmart had both empty shelves and messy, overstocked areas when I visited.
Several aisles looked like they served almost as dumping grounds for whatever didn’t have a place elsewhere.
The clothing section was one of the most disorganized.
Like at Target, furniture options were slim and looked very picked over.
Desks, a must-have in a year of working from home, were mostly gone.
Even less expensive home decor items like pillows were in short supply.
Like Target, outdoor products at Walmart seemed to be most affected by shortages.
Bike racks were nearly empty.
The pandemic shut down the supply chain for bikes while also increasing demand, leading customers to pay two to three times more in some cases.
Helmets aren’t much easier to find, either.
All kinds of outdoor toys seemed to be out of stock ahead of summer.
Tools like leaf blowers and saws were in short supply at Walmart.
Many people have invested time and money into improving their outdoor living areas, creating shortages in outdoor decor along with furniture.
Grills, which analysts predict will continue to be popular this summer, were also in short supply. That combined with a possible hog meat shortage could impact summer barbecue plans.
Even gardening supplies have been affected in a “nationwide plant shortage.”
Source: Yahoo News
The National Retail Foundation says that spending will likely shift from goods to services as COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, which could alleviate some of the strains on the supply chain.
Goldman Sachs analysts predict supply chain disruptions will continue until at least early 2022.
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