Fearing a repeat of the early days of the pandemic, when lockdowns threatened supply chains, retailers big and small are stockpiling merchandise ahead of the holiday season. U.S. imports were up 5.9% in August. At one port serving the greater New York area, IKEA shipments rose 380%, while L'Oreal's shipments rose 91%. According to the supply chain research unit of S&P Global Market Intelligence, imports of household appliances and furniture are up 79.7% and 38.1%, respectively, largely due to orders from retailers such as Target and IKEA.
President Donald Trump’s trade war with China makes many imports costlier, but retailers said they don’t want to risk running out of merchandise if COVID-19 infections upend supply chains again.