By Uday Sampath Kumar
(Reuters) -Macy’s Inc expects another early start to holiday season shopping this year, a contrast to a prediction from Best Buy Co Inc that highlights the uncertainty among U.S. retailers in forecasting inflation-driven shopping behavior.
Pandemic-induced disruptions to supply chains prompted consumers to start their holiday shopping as early as October in the last two years on fears that in-demand products would disappear from shelves by the traditional period around Thanksgiving in late November.
Even with supply-chain problems showing signs of easing and shelves at stores adequately stocked, Macy’s does not expect the trend to change this year.
“We believe that holiday again this year will start early,” Macy’s Chief Financial Officer Adrian Mitchell said at the Goldman Sachs Global Retailing Conference on Thursday.
The department store chain is also discounting heavily to spur demand for discretionary products such as casual apparel, which has fallen out of fashion due to soaring inflation.
“There are so many deals because of retailers’ over-inventoried situation that people are buying early for the holidays. But there are many different takes on how it’s going to play out,” said Jane Hali, CEO of investment research firm Jane Hali & Associates.
Best Buy Chief Executive Corie Barry said in August she expected shoppers to return to the usual late pre-pandemic holiday shopping pattern this year as they wait for the best deals on products at its stores.
Macy’s and a host of other retailers cut their annual earnings forecasts last month as a rise in discounts hit their profit margins.
The company on Thursday also said it expected American shoppers to remain under pressures next year, but spending could improve if inflation tapers down and the labor market holds strong.
Macy’s shares fell marginally in afternoon trading.
(Reporting by Uday Sampath in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)