Big retailers rushed to build up inventories last year amid soaring consumer demand and transportation bottlenecks -- going so far in some cases as to rent their own cargo ships. Now, they’re trying to figure out how to sell all their stuff.
Inventories rose $44.8 billion for companies on S&P consumer indexes with a market value of at least $1 billion that reported earnings over the last two weeks, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That’s up 26% from this time last year. The glut dented profits at some retailers, with Walmart Inc. paying more for storage and Target Corp. and Gap Inc. cutting prices on key goods.