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Tara Lachapelle

Mark It Down: January Promises Big, Big Discounts

Late-arriving merchandise, a shortage of seasonal employees and the omicron variant are overloading store shelves in December.

What stores could look like in early 2022.

What stores could look like in early 2022.

Photographer: Tom Pennington/Getty Images

This Christmas shopping season is not such a holly-jolly time to be a retailer. Winter goods have arrived late. Temporary employees are hard to find. And if those challenges weren’t enough, a new Covid-19 variant is threatening to put a fresh pandemic damper on the holidays.

Although retailers have benefited from boisterous consumer spending in recent months, the possibility remains that unabated inflation and falling rates of saving among Americans will soon slow demand. Supply-chain delays could also weaken the pricing power that stores have enjoyed. Any inventory still on shelves late in the shopping season will need to be marked down.