Like all retailers, Walmart has had its fair share of problems over the last two years. Locations across the country have seen empty shelves amid ongoing supply chain issues and various product recalls, like an aromatherapy spray that sparked a federal investigation. Walmart has also had to work overtime to try to hire more workers at its stores in the past few months to prepare for the busy holiday shopping season during an ongoing labor shortage. Now, the retailer is directing an important new announcement to all shoppers. Read on to find out what Walmart wants customers to know ahead of the holidays.
Shortages have hit every major sector this year, and shoppers are rightfully worried about getting everything they need for the holidays. But in a Nov. 18 announcement, Charles Redfield, the executive vice president for Walmart U.S., assured customers that the retailer will have enough stock for one essential item in the next week: Thanksgiving turkeys.
“[We] will have plenty of turkeys and are confident all our customers will find what they need for their Thanksgiving meal this year,” Redfield said. “As we approach our second holiday season since the pandemic began, concern over rising costs and short supply has stirred up a conversation centered on uncertainty about the Thanksgiving meal. But amidst it all, here’s what we’re certain of: Walmart is ready.”
Walmart’s announcement is not out of left-field. Many experts have been warning shoppers about a potential short supply of turkeys ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), overall inventories of frozen whole turkeys and turkey parts were 24 percent lower this year than 3-year average volumes.
“The whole supply chain right now is just broken again, and it’s just getting worse,” Chris Mentzer, Rastelli Foods Group director of culinary, told Food & Wine. “So many things are broken in the food chain right now, and turkeys are going to be one of them.”
Jay Jandrain, Butterball president and chief executive officer, told Fox Business on Nov. 2 that your ability to find what you’re looking for depends on the type of turkey you had in mind. “We don’t expect there to be a shortage overall, but we do see that there are going to be fewer small turkeys this year,” he said.
Many experts, like Jandrain, have advised shoppers to head to the stores early in order to secure a turkey for their Thanksgiving feast. And it appears many have heeded that advice. According to Redfield, frozen turkey sales at Walmart were up by more than 100 percent last month compared to the same timeframe last year.
“Because our merchants anticipated customers would shop earlier, we planned ahead and secured ample supply,” Redfield said. But he confirmed that the retailer still plans to have enough turkeys to supply those shopping later, despite the significant increase in early sales.
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Your Thanksgiving turkey isn’t the only important holiday item Walmart is likely to have in stock this year. Walmart CEO Doug McMillion recently said that the company’s inventory in the U.S. was up by 11.5 percent ahead of the busy holiday shopping season, as reported by CNBC on Nov. 16.
“I’ve been walking away from these stores with a recurring thought, ‘We’re ready, we have the people, the products, and the prices to deliver a great holiday season,'” McMillion said during a third-quarter earnings call for the company.
Brett Briggs, Walmart’s chief financial officer, also said that the company was “off to a good start for the holiday season and in a good position to continue delivering strong results,” during the earnings call, per Fox Business. “Despite the various macro and industry challenges, our inventory position is good,” he said.