While the infamous toilet paper shortage has mostly eased, the coronavirus pandemic is still affecting the supply chain for various products. Even Costco, home of the 8.5-gallon bucket of macaroni and cheese, is feeling the pinch with regards to some products.
On a recent earnings call, Costco’s chief financial officer, Richard Galanti, gave a closer look at how the warehouse club has been affected.
“From a supply chain perspective, overseas freight has continued to be an issue in regards to container shortage and port delays,” Galanti says. “This has caused timing delays on certain categories.”
The store isn’t alone in dealing with shortages. Galanti says the company expects “pressures to ease in the coming months, but it’s impacting everyone.”
But for now, here’s a look at some items that might temporarily go missing from your local Costco.
Costco is no Ikea, but the chain does sell furniture, from cribs to credenzas. That’s one of the categories affected by the overseas freight delays.
So, plan ahead if you’re thinking of redoing the rec room, or decking out your Airbnb rental, with Costco items.
Athletes are beginning to dust off their sports equipment as some regions lift local restrictions. And Costco normally sells golf gear, bicycles, tennis rackets and even kayaks. But sporting goods are another one of the categories affected by shipping delays.
Sporting goods such as exercise equipment, bikes and outdoor activity items also have been affected by high consumer demand, Galanti noted.
Lawn and garden items
While they were stuck at home during the pandemic, many Americans looked around at their backyards and decided there was no better time to spruce up the landscape.
Sales of lawn and garden equipment to residential consumers soared in 2020, a recent analysis by the Freedonia Group shows. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s another of Costco’s product categories affected by both high consumer demand and shipping-related delays.
Some food items are also affected by freight delays, Galanti said in the earnings call. That includes seafood sales.
While he didn’t specify exactly what kinds, Costco normally nets a whole ocean of offerings, from octopus to lobster.
This isn’t gouda news. Imported cheese is also on the list of foods that face shipping-related delays.
With many restaurants closed or only offering takeout during the coronavirus pandemic, many shoppers have been cooking more meals at home.
Unfortunately, Costco is also reporting difficulty acquiring the oils required for much of that cooking.
Not all the shortages are caused by overseas freight delays. There’s a global shortage of semiconductor chips, due in part to the pandemic, as we report in “11 Products Now in Short Supply Due to the Pandemic.”
As a result, Costco is facing problems stocking some electronics — such as TVs, computers and smart home-related items.
The pandemic also caused an aluminum can shortage. In part, that’s because bar closings meant breweries could no longer sell their beer fresh out of the keg, and so required more cans to fill for home drinking.
That’s led to Costco facing some difficulty getting canned beverages onto the shelves.
It’s getting tougher to bring home the bacon these days.
“For whatever reason, there’s a lot of demand there, so there’s a little bit of challenge there,” Galanti said of bacon on the earnings call.
Indeed, I cite bacon in “8 Things I Always Buy at Costco.”
All that extra home time may have Costco customers eyeing that old stove or fridge and deciding it’s time for a replacement.
Home appliances have been in high demand during the pandemic, and Costco is among the retailers that have been affected.