Major retailers tell Biden shelves are stocked for holiday season
The Washington, DC meeting with retail execs, and Biden’s remarks, are intended to reassure Americans anxious about the lingering coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the economy. Polls indicate a majority of voters believe the country is headed in the wrong direction.
With his approval ratings flagging, United States President Joe Biden has been working to show both empathy and action in tackling supply-chain issues, as well as inflation and its impact on American pocketbooks as the US enters its holiday season [File: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg]
By Jenny Leonard and Jennifer Epstein and Nancy CookBloomberg
29 Nov 2021
President Joe Biden said his administration has made strides toward relieving U.S. supply-chain disruptions, as he met Monday with the leaders of major retailers including Walmart Inc. who assured him they have ample inventories for the holiday season.
The meeting, and Biden’s remarks, were intended to reassure Americans anxious about the lingering pandemic and its impact on the economy. Polls indicate a majority of voters believe the country is headed in the wrong direction, despite reduced unemployment and growing economic output under Biden.
“We’ve seen some progress” in tackling logjams at ports, Biden told the business leaders who gathered at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. He said his administration’s discussions with port companies and labor unions have contributed to a 40% decrease in the number of containers sitting at docks for eight days or longer.
“We keep building on that progress,” he said.
Record U.S. demand for imports is contributing to an unusually steep increase in consumer prices this year. The White House said in a blog post Monday that imports are up 16% year-to-date compared with the nation’s previous peak, in 2018, but that stocks at grocery and drug stores nonetheless are at nearly the same level as before the pandemic.
Port Improvements
The blog post also noted further operational improvements at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, California, which together are the nation’s busiest. Companies operating the ports will eliminate fees for shipping containers picked up at night and on weekends, instead of during peak hours, while one of the world’s biggest ocean carriers is offering as much as $200 per container in incentives for shippers to help clear the ports’ backlog by retrieving their goods faster.
Biden’s session with retailers came on the heels of the start of the holiday shopping season over the weekend. The meeting also included executives from businesses that sell electronics, toys, clothing and other items that are common gifts.
The CEOs of Best Buy, Food Lion, Samsung North America, Qurate Retail Group, Todos Supermarket, Etsy, Mattel and Kroger were scheduled to attend in person, while Walmart CEO Doug McMillon and CVS CEO Karen Lynch made virtual appearances.
“I want to hear from each of you about what you’re seeing this holiday season,” Biden told them. “How well prepared are you to have products you need on your shelves? And how you’ve innovated and hired to overcome the supply chain challenges and keep workers safe from Covid-19 so that American people can have a holiday season they’ve been long hoping for.”
Small Businesses
Biden added that he was especially interested in how small businesses are managing supply-chain issues and in “how the federal government can continue partnering with you all to keep shelf stock so American consumers can get what they need.”
McMillon told Biden that “while we’re all concerned about the supply chain, we have more inventory than we did a year ago and have the inventory that we need to be able to support the business.”
He said port and transit delays “are improving.”
“There are a few items — as are every year with the hottest toys or things in electronics — that we wish we had more of, but generally speaking we’re in good shape,” he said.
With his approval ratings flagging, Biden has been working to show both empathy and action in tackling supply-chain issues, as well as inflation and its impact on American pocketbooks as the U.S. enters its holiday season.
The U.S. consumer price index, a broad survey of inflation, increased 6.2% last month from October 2020, the fastest annual pace since 1990. While many economists believe the abnormal inflation is due to unprecedented consumer demand following the pandemic shutdowns, Republicans have blamed Biden and his economic policies.
Biden postponed a speech on supply-chain troubles and the economy planned for Monday afternoon in order to ensure he had enough time with the retail CEOs, a White House official said. He’ll deliver the speech on Wednesday instead.
Dorsey steps down as Twit­ter CEO, re­placed by CTO Parag Agraw­al
The move is ef­fec­tive im­me­di­ate­ly, al­though Dorsey will stay on Twit­ter’s board un­til his term ex­pires in 2022.
29 Nov 2021
Cryp­to come­back: Bit­coin bounces back af­ter bru­tal sell­off
Black Fri­day came to cryp­tocur­ren­cies last week when Bit­coin post­ed its rough­est day in two months.
29 Nov 2021
World Bank is work­ing to free up $500M in Afghanistan aid: Re­port
Board mem­bers on Tues­day will dis­cuss mov­ing $500m from a frozen aid fund to hu­man­i­tar­i­an agen­cies, Reuters re­ports.
29 Nov 2021
Omi­cron COVID vari­ant ‘not a cause for pan­ic’, says Biden
US pres­i­dent urges peo­ple to get vac­ci­nat­ed amid glob­al con­cern over new strain that WHO says pos­es ‘very high’ risk.
29 Nov 2021
Airbus cancels $6bn contract with Qatar Airways after paint fight
US in talks with Qatar over supplying LNG to EU: Reports
‘Catastrophe’: Peru oil spill clean-up to take weeks
US suspends flights by China carriers after Beijing COVID move
UN calls for ‘prompt’ probe into Saudi-led air raids in Yemen
‘I wanted to die’: Abused migrant women in Lebanon face detention
Pfizer, Moderna boosters up to 90% effective against Omicron: CDC
UN probing alleged killings by CAR forces, Russia mercenaries
Follow Al Jazeera English:
© 2022 Al Jazeera Media Network
You rely on Al Jazeera for truth and transparency
We understand that your online privacy is very important and consenting to our collection of some personal information takes great trust. We ask for this consent because it allows Al Jazeera to provide an experience that truly gives a voice to the voiceless. You have the option to decline the cookies we automatically place on your browser but allowing Al Jazeera and our trusted partners to use cookies or similar technologies helps us improve our content and offerings to you. You can change your privacy preferences at any time by selecting ‘Cookie preferences’ at the bottom of your screen.To learn more, please view our Cookie Policy.