December 7, 2021

New Mexico’s small retailers concerned they’ll lose holiday sales as supply chain issues continue

For small retailers in New Mexico, what should be the biggest shopping season of the year is shaping up to look fraught with shortages – both of inventory and workers.

Global supply chain issues are affecting stores in New Mexico as containers of goods are stuck in ports with limited workers to unload them and not enough truck drivers to drive them to their final destinations.

Carla Sonntag, president of the New Mexico Business Coalition, said the supply issues run from top to bottom.

“We’ve got everything from painters who can’t get paint, to plumbers who can’t get parts,” she told The Center Square. “Retailers are lacking full supply so it’s hitting us like it’s hitting everyone.”

Compared to last year, the cost of shipping containers is twice as much, according to Sonntag.

Trains are stepping into the gap in some places, but Sonntag said since New Mexico is not a major train hub the state is very reliant on trucks.

“We can’t get the employees we need to staff the stores and there’s a shortage of truck drivers,” she said.

As holiday shopping commences, small retailers are likely to take a hit, foregoing sales to online merchants because they can’t offer the selection people want, said Sonntag.

“Starting now really is when they get the majority of their sales for the year, and if they can’t get stock, then they’re not going to make what they need to make,” she said.

Big retailers with the resources to impact the supply chain are stepping up to get things moving.

“We’re seeing the private sector, Walmart, UPS, FedEx, Home Depot – a bunch of the big stores and big providers – are going to start ramping up their container movement to help get goods into stores, but they’re suffering from worker shortages as well,” Sonntag said. “It’s a good thought; I don’t know how they’re going to man it to get it done though.”

If necessary, these big companies can go to the port and pick up their shipment because they fill a whole container and don’t require sorting, she said. Some companies who don’t normally work in their warehouses over the weekends are going to start now, she added.

Smaller businesses will likely continue to struggle, but Sonntag is encouraged to see the private sector stepping in to remedy a problem without turning to the government.

“With that attitude – the American spirit of people coming together and the employees being willing to work extra shifts or longer shifts, I think they can bring hope to everyone,” she said.

This article was originally posted on New Mexico’s small retailers concerned they’ll lose holiday sales as supply chain issues continue