Now’s the time to start holiday shopping in Charlotte this year

Now’s the time to start holiday shopping in Charlotte this year

Photo: Brianna Crane/Axios

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Supply chain issues have left businesses scrambling to stock their stores for the holidays.

Why it matters: Charlotte retailers that fought to survive the last 18 months are doubling down to make sure they’re ready for the next few months despite ongoing shortages and shipping headaches.

  • The holiday shopping season is vital for retailers. According to the National Retail Federation, the November-December shopping season accounted for nearly one-fifth (19.4%) of overall annual retail sales last year.

But even small disruptions in the supply chain — coupled with labor shortages — are making it nearly impossible for local brands to fully stock up for the holidays.

  • Candles, for instance, are in short supply because the adhesive used to line the vessels isn’t being made or shipped quick enough to meet demand, Paper Skyscraper owner Bill Godwin told me.
  • “Those little things are driving the shortages.”

The popular Dilworth gift shop, which represents 80-100+ local manufacturers, is packed with gifts and holiday goods right now. But Godwin expects the shop will start looking bare by mid-December

“It won’t show back up if you don’t get it the first time. If it’s not off the boat now it’s not getting here,” he said.

Driving the news: Record numbers of container ships are stuck at port waiting to be unloaded, Axios’ Jennifer Kingson reports.

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  • Labor shortages and the sky-high price tag on shipping containers have forced retailers to scramble in the months leading up to the holidays.

In anticipation of these challenges, Lowe’s set up its stores with holiday decor earlier, and with a larger assortment of goods — including its largest selection of artificial trees ever, the company’s EVP of merchandising Bill Boltz told reporters recently.

  • The Mooresville-based home-improvement retailer aims to be a one-stop-shop for holiday gift giving, meaning you’ll be able to find items there that are atypical for a home improvement store, like wine chillers and neck massagers.
  • “I would recommend that all of our customers shop early,” Boltz said.

Andrew Wilkerson, co-owner of Blackhawk Hardware, drove down to Savannah with two box trucks to retrieve as much as he could for the Park Road store, according to the Observer.

  • He picked up holiday goods like ornaments and artificial trees that had been sitting for weeks, waiting to be unpacked.
  • Blackhawk usually receives its holiday shipment by August.

      Shoppers should also expect price markups, Reid’s CEO Tom Coker said. Reid’s plans to have enough supply to keep their holiday gift baskets in stock through December, but items will be more expensive.

      • Certain food items have been hard to find and food prices have soared in recent months, Coker said. Meat, for example, is up 30-40%.
      • Tom said he and his Reid’s crew would be disappointed if they ran out of gift baskets by early December. But even with strong vendor relationships, Covid continues to present a lot of unknowns to the industry.

      Bottom line: Shop early and shop local for the best chance of successfully checking off the items on your holiday shopping list.

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