University of Arkansas economist says improving supply chain conditions could benefit holiday shoppers

Business

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A University of Arkansas economist said holiday shoppers can likely find items they want because supply chain disruptions have decreased over the past few weeks. But some products are still impacted.

Jeff Cooperstein, a University of Arkansas economist, said holiday shopping could set records this year because of an ongoing “buying binge” Americans have created since the pandemic began.

“Demand jumped so much, and the supply chain, which really shut down during the pandemic, hasn’t been able to catch up with it yet,” Cooperstein said.

Big retailers have started relying on their own supply chains to deliver to smaller coastal ports, Cooperstein said, ensuring better flow. Still, items coming from countries like China are still impacted, as the issues in Asian supply chains persist.

“Some products might be there,” Cooperstein said. “Some products might not be there.”

Brandy McNair owns Bella Vita Jewelry in Little Rock. She said she’s been able to keep most of her shelves stocked, but some ornaments coming from China have proven a bit harder to get.

“We try to stay away from ‘made in China,’ but [the ornaments] are probably mostly made in China from a bigger company,” McNair said. “The easiest companies we’ve been able to work with are fair trade companies.”

McNair said planning ahead may have saved Christmas for most of her customers.

“I did all my ordering in July,” McNair said. “I didn’t want to be stuck without stuff. That was really smart.”

Cooperstein said shoppers who cannot find their ideal gift should have a backup plan in place or buy gift cards. He said panic buying is also something to avoid, as it can lead to broader unnecessary economic problems.

McNair said the supply chain problems have made it tougher than most years, but she’s received most orders.

“We’ve been able to stock the shelves for the most part,” McNair said.

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