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Costco Says It's Still Struggling With These Shortages

The warehouse chain's chief financial officer says it could take months for the supply chain to improve.
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Grocery stores were wiped clean of non-perishables, cleaning supplies, and bathroom essentials in mid-March and several large chains are still struggling to restock their shelves almost half of a year later. (Related: 8 Grocery Items That May Soon Be in Short Supply).

Costco members stockpiled various items in bulk including baking yeast for sourdough starters, disinfectant wipes, and toilet paper at the height of the pandemic. Even though the national rate of infection dipped in the summer months, the fall and winter have many health experts worried. In the event of another shutdown, Costco's chief financial officer Richard Galanti has been monitoring the company's inventory levels to ensure the chain is prepared for the potential surge in demand for key items.

He speculates that some items will be challenging to keep restock than others. "The supply chain continues to improve, but it will still take six to nine months on some categories or products," he said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal.

In order to keep up with the demand for certain staple groceries over the past several months, Costco had to rely on additional suppliers and cut back on stocking the shelves with less popular items. For example, the warehouse chain typically sources paper towels from two suppliers, but now, its buying from as many as four manufacturers, according to Galanti.

The retailer won't be supplying as many Halloween costumes or candy, for example, as the number of trick-or-treaters this year will likely be a lower turnout than in past years as a result of coronavirus. Patio furniture along with other seasonal items may be moved to storage to sell next year instead of selling at them at a discounted rate.

For more grocery store updates, be sure to check out Grocery Stores Are Preparing for Shortages of These Holiday Foods.

Cheyenne Buckingham
Cheyenne Buckingham is the news editor of Eat This, Not That!, specializing in food and drink coverage, and breaking down the science behind the latest health studies and information. Read more
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