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Supply chain issues could affect your holiday shopping plans

The Alabama Retail Association is encouraging shoppers to hit stores early this year.
The Alabama Retail Association says delays or shortages continue in a wide range of products,...
The Alabama Retail Association says delays or shortages continue in a wide range of products, including certain clothes, bikes, paint, furniture, toys, appliances, anything with semiconductor chips.(Source: WSFA)
Published: Oct. 18, 2021 at 11:55 PM EDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The supply chain problem happening across the United States could have an impact on your holiday shopping plans.

The Alabama Retail Association says stores have most of their product in stock now, but they might not the closer we get to Christmas.

“We don’t really have shortages of products. The products are not getting to where they need to be,” said Nancy Dennis, director of public relations for the Alabama Retail Association.

Dennis said you don’t need to panic because stores are full now, but that “if you want to make sure you get everything on that list, go ahead and get those items. The earlier, the better this year.”

Storkland and Name Dropper in Montgomery, a children’s clothing and furniture store, is among the many businesses across the state struggling to get their hands on certain products. One of the manufacturers the shop uses to purchase furniture has experienced major delays.

“The chair company used to take about four to six weeks to come in. Now it’s taking like eight months to come in,” said owner Brian Schroll. “Certain items like toys and shoes, trying to reorder that kind of stuff is kind of hard to do right now.”

Dennis said delays or shortages continue across the state in a wide range of products, including certain clothes, bikes, paint, furniture, toys, appliances or anything with semiconductor chips.

This is all because of a disruption in global supply chains. COVID-19 prompted shutdowns of industries around the world, which meant manufacturers were making a lot less, driving down consumer demand. However, as lockdowns have lifted, so has consumer demand. But with worker shortages and lack of certain raw materials, manufactures and distributors are struggling to bounce back.

It’s a problem that’s only getting worse as we enter the busiest shopping season of the year.

“The items are here now, and if you see them, you should buy them,” Dennis reiterated.

Some stores are also beginning their holiday sales sooner to allow customers more time to shop.

“Retailers are really pushing that this year, and they are having lots of sales now,” Dennis said.

“A lot of people are shopping early. We had one of our busiest weekends this last weekend, so I think a lot of people are hearing to go ahead and shop early because we’ve been real busy,” Schroll said.

Businesses across the state have been busy too. So far in 2021, sales taxes in Alabama have grown almost 20% over 2020. Also, holiday sales in Alabama could grow by double digits for the second year in a row.

But whether or not that number grows is all dependent upon the global supply chains ability to keep up with the demand.

In the meantime, businesses say the short term solution to making sure their shelves are stocked is finding different manufacturers they may not normally use to supply them with the products they need in a timely fashion.

The retail association is projecting between 7% and 11% growth during the holiday shopping season this year, which is traditionally in November and December.

Copyright 2021 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.