Skip to content
Business
Checkout

Walmart, Gap and Others Amass $45 Billion in Extra Stuff to Sell

  • Companies bulked up amid pandemic’s lengthy shipping delays
  • Shifts in customer preferences may force a round of discounts
Shoppers load purchases into a vehicle outside a Walmart store in Albany, New York.

Shoppers load purchases into a vehicle outside a Walmart store in Albany, New York.

Photographer: Angus Mordant/Bloomberg

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.