President Biden Hosts Roundtable with Leading Retailers About Holiday Shopping, Stocked Shelves and Overcoming Supply Chain Challenges
Today, President Biden, Director of the National Economic Council, Brian Deese and Cedric Richmond, Director of Office of Public Engagement, hosted a roundtable with a diverse group of American companies to discuss their outlook for the strong holiday shopping season, and the steps companies large and small have taken to meet consumer demands. The meeting also highlighted steps companies have taken to overcome supply chain bottlenecks and the progress they are seeing at the Ports of LA and Long Beach, as a result of the work of the Biden-Harris Administration.
The CEOs thanked President Biden for his focus on supply chain bottlenecks and the productive partnership he established with the private sector to tackle these disruptions.
The business leaders noted the strength of their supply chains, especially for seasonal items, and highlighted ways they had planned ahead, diversified their supplier base, sourced new products, and partnered closely with suppliers to be ready to meet the seasonal demand. The result of this planning is evident in their high inventory levels and high on time delivery rates.
Participants noted that the backlog at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach has decreased, and Walmart CEO Doug McMillon highlighted a 51% improvement in his company’s throughput at the ports due to the work of the Biden-Harris Port Envoy.
In addition to discussing the holiday shopping season, the President also noted the progress made at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, which have seen an over 40% drop in the number of long dwelling containers, an important sign that velocity and fluidity are coming back.
Black Friday sales were up 30% compared to last year and we are in the midst of a retail boom with retail sales up double digits every month in 2021 compared to the previous year. In October retail sales were up 15 percent compared to last year.
Many retailers initiated Black Friday deals as early as October, and many Americans did their holiday shopping earlier than usual, spreading out the impact of holiday season shopping.
Click here to read the latest updates on the progress at our ports.
Attendees at the meeting included:
- Corie Barry, CEO, Best Buy
- KS Choi, CEO, Samsung
- Carlos Castro, CEO, Todos Supermarket
- Meg Ham, President, Food Lion
- Ynon Kreiz, CEO, Mattel
- Karen Lynch, President and CEO, CVS Health
- Doug McMillon, President and CEO, Walmart
- Rodney McMullen, CEO, Kroger
- David Rawlinson, President and CEO, Qurate Retail Group
- Josh Silverman, CEO, Etsy
Business Leader Statements:
Karen Lynch – CVS Health President and CEO
“We’re seeing progress with port congestion and staffing levels as a result of the administration’s recent actions, and the outlook for maintaining stocked shelves improves each day. The focus on increased availability of over-the-counter COVID-19 tests has also had a meaningful impact and provides countless families with protection and peace of mind during the holiday season. With regard to our pharmacies, we’ve been able to utilize our expertise and extensive partnerships throughout the supply chain to ensure the continued availability of prescription medications since the onset of the pandemic.”
Josh Silverman – Etsy CEO
“Today, I am proud to represent Etsy’s community of more than five million sellers in a discussion about the strength of small businesses at the White House. Along with other business and retail leaders, I am meeting President Joe Biden to help address the nation’s supply chain crisis. I plan to use this time to remind the administration that it’s critical to always consider actions that promote an environment where small businesses are able to operate and thrive.”
Rodney McMullen – Kroger CEO
“At Kroger, we feel great about our ability to serve our customers’ needs through the holidays. We are grateful to President Biden for inviting us to share Kroger’s unique perspective on providing fresh, affordable and delicious food for customers this holiday season. We thank the Biden Administration for their efforts to alleviate current supply chain concerns. We remain focused on providing a full, fresh and friendly experience for our customers by attracting and retaining workers with Kroger’s opportunity culture, providing affordable Our Brands products, partnering with suppliers to plan for increased demand and to increase our safety stock on more than 70 of our most critical categories, leveraging our data insights to identify complementary/substitute items to fill customers’ needs where suppliers can’t meet demands, and diversifying ports of entry we schedule through.”
Carlos Castro – Todos Supermarket CEO
“I was honored to represent Todos and America’s independent community grocers during today’s White House roundtable discussion on supply chain challenges. Although independents are resilient and our customers can rely on us during the holidays, independent grocers unfortunately continue to face competitive disadvantages when sourcing products in short supply. We appreciate the President’s leadership in helping to address the major issues facing retailers and consumers.”
KS Choi – Samsung North America President and CEO
“As consumer demand for tech products continues to be unprecedented, Samsung is committed to ensuring U.S. consumers have the appliances and electronics they want and need. We applaud President Biden for taking action to drive the public/private collaborations that are helping solve supply chain challenges that otherwise could impact the holiday season. Since the White House roundtable on port congestion, as promised we have ramped up our capacity and have significantly reduced our backlog at the Ports of LA and Long Beach, which helps ensure we will deliver on our consumers’ holiday purchases.”
Ynon Kreiz – Mattel CEO
“I was encouraged by President Biden’s commitment to support the private sector in mitigating supply chain disruptions, including in particular port congestion. Mattel appreciates the Administration’s leadership in helping to focus attention and resources in this important area. We continue to work through supply chain challenges and collaborate closely with our valued retail partners to try to meet the unprecedented demand for our product. We are confident that there will be plenty of Mattel toys for children of all ages to enjoy this holiday season. The toy industry is a growth industry and is expected to continue to grow as children, parents and caregivers have made play a bigger part of their lives. We are grateful for the invitation to share information with the White House about Mattel’s perspective on supply chain and the toy industry’s preparation towards the holiday season. We look forward to continuing the dialogue.”
Meg Ham – Food Lion President
“I appreciated the opportunity to speak with President Biden and others today to discuss the supply chain and our ongoing work to ensure our neighbors have the items they need to nourish their families. The pandemic transformed almost every aspect of our business – from the way customers shop for groceries to how food is produced and transported to our shelves. While there have been targeted supply chain issues, the food supply chain remains robust and there is ample product available for customers on our shelves. We continue to work with our diverse and broad network of suppliers, source products from new partners and engage directly with additional local vendors. On a daily basis, we are working with our supply chain partners, ADUSA Supply Chain, to get product to our stores to help meet customers’ needs.”