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Big, small retail stores ready for early shopping season

Supply chain breakdowns forcing course correction
Nebraska Furniture Mart
Posted at 5:37 AM, Nov 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-04 06:55:06-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It may be weeks until Thanksgiving, but retail leaders are encouraging an early start to holiday shopping, as supply chain issues may affect your ability to get gifts for your loved ones on time.

Nebraska Furniture Mart is unpacking for gifting season, and yet, according to store director Nastasia Williams, they are suffering from product delays.

NFM told KSHB 41 News that compared to a normal year, they’re down in stock 10 to 15%. Electronics and furniture delays continue to impact the Kansas City, Kansas, store.

"At times, it would be the factory that was shut down due to Covid. And then it was getting people to get the trucks and shipping here and get it unloaded and things of that nature. So it's just different touchpoints that are being impacted at different times," Williams said.

That’s the effect on a big retailer. On a smaller scale, Brookside Toy and Science owner Holly Pollard prepared holiday orders months ago.

"There is nothing scary, no thought scarier for me to think of a toy store that doesn't have toys for Christmas. I have orders that I placed in April and May and half of it showed up right away and the other half has been back-ordered. And I may not see the rest of it this year," Pollard said.

She gambled early on to make sure her shelves were stocked, with orders sometimes five times larger than normal.

"Those bills come in and the stuff is still here. I haven't sold it. I haven't made the money back to pay for it yet. So I've been using an SBA loan from last year that my husband got us and that's been the financial way that's been giving me the ability to fill the store," Pollard said.

It’s an uphill battle for everyone, with less than two months until Christmas.

As stores try to get out in front of delays, they’re urging customers to do the same - shop early and in person.

"If there's something that you need by a hard date, I do strongly encourage you to get something we do have in stock," Williams said.

"Get into a store, preferably local, get the thing off the shelf because if you don't have it, you cannot guarantee that you're going to get it," Pollard seconded.

And if you do shop in person, the message remains the same across all retailers.

"Be patient with us. We're trying to communicate as we receive updates," Williams said.

"Try to be open-minded about it because we may not have that one thing they want. But what we're good at is being able to show you other stuff that that kid would love," Pollard said.

Brookside Toy and Science told KSHB 41 News they’re picking up with shoppers and focusing on games and puzzles that have staying power, that can be used multiple times.

As for NFM, electronics, bicycles and power tools are their popular items for stay-at-home work and projects.