Retailers recover from inventory shortage in the wake of COVID-19 shutdown

The biggest problem many have seen since reopening is keeping inventory stocked.
Published: Aug. 3, 2020 at 3:57 PM EDT
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NEGAUNEE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WLUC) - Right now, businesses are continuing to bounce back after the initial COVID-19 shutdown. The biggest problem many have seen since reopening is keeping inventory stocked.

After being closed for three months, and a surge of customers upon reopening, Shunk Furniture in Negaunee Township is starting to see a normal flow of customers for this time of year.

"It's starting to get back to a little more normal, but we're still busy, people still need product, they still need something to sleep on, a recliner, a sofa, whatever," said owner Carl Shunk.

When most of the country shut down in March and April, factories were no longer producing new furniture, leaving stores like Shunk without a way to restock their inventory.

"They shut down parts of the factories to make distancing and all that available, but then they didn't consider that it's going to take more time to get stuff shipped out, so that moved things back a couple of weeks," said Shunk.

Factories are back to work now, but still behind on orders.

“So to get something that big rolling again, it doesn’t happen overnight,” said Shunk.

That led to a shortage of inventory when stores finally reopened.

“All of a sudden we had a big surge when we opened up, recliners was one of them, and mattresses, stuff like that that people wear out quite frequently,” said Shunk. “Those were the big things that we got hit with.”

Stores that order inventory from China have had even more problems. With trade almost completely shut down with the nation, not just furniture, but appliances, and other every day goods are now hard to come by.

Shunk says his stores try to buys completely American made goods, so inventory is doing well now.

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