As grocery chains continue to struggle with supply chain issues, increased consumer demand and fluctuating prices on products, retailers have placed orders earlier than ever to ensure they will have enough stock ahead of the busy holiday season.
Thanksgiving is just over two months out, but companies have planned to bring in certain items earlier than ever in hopes of mitigating negative impacts on customers.
New York-based supermarket chain Tops Friendly Markets had its order for turkeys placed before Americans even rang in 2021, according to the Wall Street Journal.
"We locked down turkeys in the second, third week of February," senior vice president of merchandising for Tops, Jeff Culhane, said.
Jonathan Gold, vice president of supply chain and customs policy for the National Retail Federation told "Good Morning America" that other retail executives have acted accordingly in order to receive all their must-have holiday items from suppliers in time.
"The supply chain has been stretched from end to end throughout the pandemic, and it's becoming even more evident now as we're seeing demand outpace supply -- for pretty much everything," Gold said.
Retail has seen shortages in everything from finished goods to the containers they're shipped in, as well as a lack of labor workforce -- all acting as a catalyst for stores to bring in peak holiday items ahead of schedule.
"They have taken many different avenues to address this like bringing in product earlier to ensure they have the item when the consumer arrives to buy their holiday merchandise," Gold said. "They're planning ahead and looking at potentially earlier sales and promotions than normal. Now the challenge is educating consumers about the challenges out there."
Jim Dudlicek, director of communications for the National Grocers Association, explained to "GMA" that while there's plenty of food in the supply chain, "certain items may be harder to get at certain times."
"Shopping early for the holidays is a wise strategy, especially under current conditions," he said. "Consumers should secure those must haves in a timely fashion to ensure favorites for the holiday table, but be mindful of their neighbors and limit their quantities to only what they need."
He also suggested that shoppers reach out to local and independent community grocers with questions about specific holiday needs, availability and if necessary, alternatives.
Just as they did last year, Gold said the trend for consumers "to shop early and shop safe will be critical this holiday season."