Retail supply shortages not a ‘marketing gimmick’
RICHARD MACKENZIE THE NEWS firstname.lastname@example.org
NEW GLASGOW – It’s not quite as bad as in some areas but Nova Scotia shoppers are also facing challenges with retail supply shortages leading up to the holiday season, an industry proponent says. “It’s true; there are some challenges with the supply chain,” Retail Council of Canada Atlantic director Jim Cormier said. “We’ve been finding that over the last number of months.” Cormier said the issue involves a wide range of products. “Everything from produce through to home building supplies to electronics,” he said. “And sometimes it’s just the microchips; we’ve seen that with stores in Truro. The microchips that go into a lot of different products, they’re not making them, necessarily, at the same rate they were, so it’s causing a huge problem in the supply chain for vehicles, off-road vehicles, boats, you name it.” Cormier said communication is important to let consumers know the shortages are not a marketing gimmick. “There are some real challenges in the supply chain so, depending on the product, the retailer, the time that you go, you may have some challenges trying to source the products you want and need during holiday shopping times,” he said. The advice he offers is to start looking as soon as possible and be flexible. Cormier said a business may still be able to order the product in time. “Or, at least, you have given yourself the time to be able to pivot as a customer and potentially buy something similar, ensuring you get something for those loved ones in your life at the holiday time,” he said. Cormier said as a western society, consumers have grown accustomed to finding 'what we want, when we want it', but that it’s important to understand the problem often stems from manufacturers being in other countries around the world that have been less successful at battling COVID. “That is not the only reason, but it’s some of the reason," he said. “Manufacturer ‘X’ in that other country may still be dealing with high numbers of COVID, which means their manufacturing facility is shut down for longer periods then would be the case if the plant was here in North America.” In talking to member retailers, Cormier said it was a problem anticipated in the summer, and some businesses took a risk by ordering more of a product than they usually would. “It’s risky in, what if those products don’t become the hot sellers as anticipated, then they’re stuck with an oversupply,” he said. “But some retailers decided to go that route while others went the more traditional way of buying a certain amount and then hoping they could source more if needed.” A survey of some New Glasgow and Truro shoppers revealed the supply issue is a problem for some, but not all. “We’re waiting for a new front door, and we haven’t received that yet because it’s back-ordered,” said Rankin MacKenzie while visiting Highland Square Mall in New Glasgow. “And yes, we’ve noticed it with a lot of things,” he added. Jordan Lowe, who was shopping in Pictou County from the Eastern Shore, said while he has heard reports of retail shortages of late, so far, he has not been impacted by the situation. That was the same reply from Madison Murphy and Courtney Denney as they picked up a few items while strolling through the Truro Mall. “I have heard that,” Murphy said, saying it’s something being talked about on social media and in the news. “But, so far, not a problem for me.” Denney echoed her friend’s thought, while adding that she had just started with her Christmas shopping. “This is my normal thing,” she said. “Talk about buying presents earlier, and right up to Christmas, I’m still buying them.” Elsewhere in the same mall, Olivia Irving and Colby Singer said they weren’t aware it was a big concern and after doing some browsing, felt confident they’ll be able to find what they need. “When Christmas shopping happens for me, I think there will be stuff I can find right away,” Irving said.