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The Supply Side: Demand outpacing supply still a problem for retailers, suppliers

In November, a Fayetteville-based Field Agent looked at 203 U.S. big-box retail stores to gain insights into the depth of the supply chain problem.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Retailers have struggled to keep store shelves stocked during the pandemic. In November, a Fayetteville-based Field Agent looked at 203 U.S. big-box retail stores to gain insights into the depth of the supply chain problem.

Field Agent examined products in 13 categories, including canned vegetables, bottled juices, crackers, toilet paper, pet food, laundry detergent, action figures, and dolls. The research found that 57% of the 1,316 aisles examined contained less stock than usual at Walmart, Kroger, Target, and Best Buy. And 16% of the aisles had much less inventory than expected.

Given the holiday season, Field Agent was not surprised that 86% of the stores had limited video game consoles, but staples like toilet paper were also top of the shortage list, with 84% of stores having low stocks.

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