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Mixed Outlook for Supply Chain During Holiday Shopping Season

Survey on subject mostly bleak, but another report more upbeat

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A whopping 95 percent of retailers responding to a recent survey by Coupa Software think that they cannot fulfill consumers’ shopping needs this holiday season, thanks to supply chain snarls. But those conducting that survey did find that some shortages are diminishing.

And The Wall Street Journal had differing findings in a recent report, concluding that retailers have put most of their supply chain woes in the rear-view mirror, and that store shelves should be adequately stocked across the board over the coming month or so.

Here are some key takeaways from the Coupa survey, which gathered input from 602 managers and executives at U.S. consumer retailer with at least 500 employees in early October:

  • Roughly 7 in 10 retailers anticipate that supply chain disruptions will negatively impact their company’s revenue – an 11 percent increase from 2021.
  • 93 percent of retailers worry a recession will reduce consumer spending.
  • 9 in 10 retailers that experienced supply chain disruptions in 2022 are concerned one or more of their company’s suppliers will shut down – an eye-opening 61 percent increase from 2021.

Adding to the stress for retailers:  “Relentless shortages are flipping to inventory surpluses in certain categories. This is further complicating retailer’s ability to orient their supply chains to rapidly shifting consumer behaviors and evolving regulations,” said Madhav Durbha, VP supply chain strategy at Coupa. “Retailers must pay close attention to consumption patterns and selectively build in optionality in their supply chain to address the changing wants and needs of consumers.”

The Journal, meantime, offers a decidedly upbeat outlook for shoppers, noting that “revamped logistics strategies and sagging demand mean stocked shelves and lower prices.”

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