Analyst Corner

Replay – Disrupted Retail – How COVID-19 Exposed Inventory Distortion

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Since the beginning of time, retailers have struggled with having what the customer wants to buy in-stock when they want to buy it. Inventory distortion occurs when a retailer has too many of an item (overstocks) or too few of an item (out-of-stocks). In an overstock situation, the retailer must heavily discount the item in order to sell it, and in the out-of-stock situation the retailer risks losing the sale. As retailers have employed advanced forecasting and inventory systems, improvements have been made over the years. However, when Covid-19 hit, this not only blew apart existing progress but also due to the rapid rise of additional digital journeys, the pandemic exposed problems that were previously hidden within the retailer’s stores.

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