It may only be September, but retailers are already gearing up for a demand-fueled holiday shopping season.
Walmart last week unveiled its toy list for 2022, marking the start of the holiday shopping season for the world’s largest retailer. In a press release, Walmart U.S.’ SVP of electronics, toys and seasonal said the retailer is accommodating the many people who are shopping earlier this year in search of good deals.
The early release of Walmart’s toy list coincides with general predictions for an earlier shopping season, as has been the case throughout the pandemic. Given current economic trends such as inflation, consumers will likely to want to spread out their shopping over a longer period of time, explained managing director of GlobalData Neil Saunders. He added that shopping earlier also mitigates the risk for order delays due to supply chain challenges.
Even with a longer shopping period, retailers have recently noted their readiness to meet demand in key categories this season. This is partly due to higher-than-usual levels of inventory across the board as a result of delayed orders from Q1 and Q2 that have only recently arrived, compounding existing orders for the season.
“With regard to stock, retailers are more confident this year,” Saunders said. “If anything, the problem is having too much inventory rather than too little — which is a big change over last year.”
Executives at Genesco, which owns Journeys, Johnston & Murphy, and Schuh, said in a call with investors last week that an inventory increase at Journeys due to late arrivals will help the company meet demand this holiday season.
“We have a head start on the holiday inventory because we received some late items last holiday, and we carried them over so that we are ready when holiday sales kick in,” said Genesco CEO Mimi Vaughn in a call with investors.
Foot Locker also noted how its inventory levels will be an important factor in meeting demand this fall and winter.
“As we look at our inventory, again, we feel really good about the freshness of it,” said CFO Andrew Page. “We feel really good about how it’s going to be responsive to consumer demand for back-to-school and during the holiday season.”
At Hibbett Sports, executives are anticipating a strong holiday season that includes some consumers shopping earlier than usual to spread out expenses. Hibbett’s SVP of marketing and digital William Quinn said consumers “don’t have any plans to cut back spending from holidays” and very few have traded down to other stores or brands.
Macy’s, which is expanding its shop-in-shop partnership with Toys “R” Us to all stores this fall, also said it is also positioned to meet consumer demand this shopping season.
The company, which expects to see the shopping season commence in October, said it will employ markdowns across inventory as needed. According to the retailer, more than half of its holiday 2022 products will be new, up 30 percentage points from 2019.
“We believe this will position us well to meet customer expectations,” Macy’s CEO Jeff Gennette said in a call with investors.