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Retailers Face Nervous Festive Inventory Wait

By YOURI KEMP

Tribune Business Reporter

ykemp@tribunemedia.net

A BAHAMIAN retailer yesterday said “goods are sitting in places and we can’t get them”, as she lamented the supply chain woes disrupting the run-up to a vital Christmas season.

Margo Farrington, Lorene’s Department store’s chief marketing officer, told Tribune Business it is uncertain whether delayed shipments and deliveries will arrive in time for a festive season that many merchants are counting on to provide some relief from COVID-19’s ravages.

“If we can’t supply it we would definitely recommend someone else,” she said. “We will have some inventory, but our problem is going to be mostly in lingerie sizes because our suppliers are only sending half of the order. So we’ll have some sizes, but not all sizes.”

Inflationary pressures from increased shipping costs and supply chain bottlenecks are also a major factor this Christmas. Ms Farrington said: “Especially with the freight, the prices are really high. We are trying to do our best to absorb the cost of it so we don’t have to increase our prices. But I don’t know how long that can last.”

Lorene’s will have a full complement of staff for this Christmas season, and she added: “We hope that Bahamians like usual will shop at Christmas time. So we’re hoping it will still be a good one. People are starting to trickle in now for the Black Friday weekend. Then, gradually every week, it will increase leading up to Christmas Day.”

Latoya Miller, retail store manager for Custom Computers, said: “Right now we have a lot of back orders. We are filled up with headphones and speakers right now, so we’re waiting on our Apple stuff to come in.

“There are a lot of things that we need that our customers are looking for. So it is a lot of backlog. For example, for some items the ETA (estimated time of arrival) is in February next year.

“We will have some stuff, but certain things like printers that our customers are looking for, or certain laptops that our customers are looking for, those kinds of stuff are low and limited right now. But we will have a full store. Demand is high but inventory is running low.”

Custom Computers is still selling-off back-to-school equipment dating from August. Prices increased in the summer, so Ms Miller is not expecting any dramatic new hikes. “If prices go up, it won’t be that drastically,” she said.

Jody Moree, vice-president of Sandy’s Department Store, said it was not having any supply chain issues. “We have seen some increase with the cost of containers, and the cost to have them shipped is more than what it used to be. But everything in The Bahamas is expensive.”

Sandy’s will have a full staff complement this Christmas season, and will bring back “the usual additional staff” to handle the end-of-year rush.

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