Spring is here, but not sandals and shorts, they’re stuck in ports or at sea

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It’s almost spring, but many retailers are still waiting for deliveries of shorts, sandals and other warm-weather clothing, a sign that the supply chain problems of the past two years have not abated.

The boardshorts that Manhattan Beach, Calif. clothing retailer Old Bull Lee hoped to feature on its website by mid-February are still en route from China and won’t arrive at the Port of Los Angeles until mid-February. March. Nearly half of the spring line that New York clothing chain Untuckit planned to feature in its March catalog did not arrive from Vietnam. under protection Inc.

said in February that cancellations related to spring and summer orders due to supply chain capacity constraints would reduce current quarter revenue by about 10 percentage points.

Chain stores, including Lululemon Athletica Inc.,

Kohls Corp.

and Abercrombie & Fitch Co.

, said supply chain delays were hurting holiday sales. These problems continue into the new year, some leaders have said in recent weeks.

Macy’s Inc.

General Manager Jeff Gennette said the chain is facing a shortage of women’s shoes, handbags and toys.

Some retail chains such as Lululemon Athletica said supply chain delays were hurting holiday sales.


Photo:

ANDREW KELLY/REUTERS

“There’s still quite a bit of supply chain disruption when you think of 60-70 ships still anchored off Long Beach in Los Angeles trying to get in,” Foot Locker Inc.

CEO Richard Johnson told analysts last month. John Idol, CEO of Capri Holdings, parent company of Michael Kors ltd.

, said the disruptions would continue for at least the next six months. “We don’t see it actually improving,” he told analysts in early February.

Dr. Sheng Lu, a University of Delaware professor who analyzes global trade data, estimates retailers will experience average shipment delays of one to two months this spring.

The crisis is exacerbated by strong consumer spending which pits growing demand against limited supply. After two years of Covid-19 restrictions, retailers are betting consumers are eager to update their wardrobes as they return to the office, travel and attend more social engagements.

While large chains such as Walmart Inc.

and Home Depot Inc.

worked to circumvent some of the delays by chartering their own ships, some executives said the problem was now less about moving goods across the ocean and more about the shortage of truckers in the United States.

“Domestic trucking is a bigger issue than it was last year,” said Andrew Clarke, CEO of Francesca’s, which sells women’s clothing, shoes and accessories. He said it takes an extra week to move goods from the company’s distribution center in Houston to its roughly 466 stores.

The Covid-19 pandemic has strained global supply chains, causing freight backlogs that have driven up costs. Today, some companies are looking for longer-term solutions to prepare for future supply chain crises, even though these strategies come at a high cost. Photo illustration: Jacob Reynolds

Many chains place orders with overseas factories sooner and pay large sums to send the goods to the United States. But that doesn’t necessarily solve the problem and ties up capital in inventory.

Shoemaker Steven Madden ltd.

said in February that stocks in transit had more than doubled from a year ago due to extended lead times, which are more than double pre-Covid-19 levels. Company CEO Edward Rosenfeld told analysts he had “not seen any meaningful improvement” in supply chain delays.

The backlog was a boon for discount chains such as TJ Maxx, Ross Stores Inc.

and Burlington stores Inc.

who are inundated with seasonal produce that they can stash until later in the year.

But sitting on seasonal products is more difficult for traditional retailers who rely more on new seasonal products to drive sales.

Last month, Untuckit was expecting 177,000 items that should have arrived by the end of December, which equates to about $15 million in lost revenue. Chris Riccobono, the founder of Untuckit, said he plans to put away flannel shirts and other cold-weather gear that didn’t arrive in time for the holiday season and try to sell them in the fall. .

For spring, Untuckit has increased orders by two months and is stealing merchandise up to $10 a shirt.

“We ordered so far in advance and spent all that money on airfreight and everything is still behind schedule,” Mr Riccobono said. He added that he had no choice but to place orders even earlier, but that made it more difficult to match supply and demand.

Lee Johnson, founder of Old Bull Lee, said he could miss a month or more of the spring season by not having swim shorts, bathing suits, t-shirts and other warm clothes in stock. “If someone wants boardshorts and they can’t find yours, they’ll just buy them somewhere else,” he said.

Write to Suzanne Kapner at [email protected]

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