In Excess: How Target and Walmart are struggling with more inventory than they can sell

Posted on August 16, 2022


I recently read an article by Sourcing Industry Group’s (SIG) Dawn Tiura regarding the “challenges big box retailers such as Target, Walmart, and many others have been experiencing due to excess inventory.”

In “Feast or Famine: Is It Time For Big Box Retailers To Rethink And Reengineer Their Sourcing Practices?” Tiura provides a compelling history lesson by referring to the 2008 financial crisis and its impact on the retail industry. Of particular interest were the references to the demise of “notable brands” such as “Circuit City, Linens-n-Things, and Radio Shack.”

Looking at what happened back then and the challenges retailers are facing today, Tiura then asks: “can we honestly say there has been a marked improvement in our sourcing practices between 2008 and today?

A Digital Wake-Up Call?

Questions about how our sourcing practices have (or haven’t) “progressed” since 2008 made me wonder why – with incredible advances in digital technology, challenges such as having too much or too little inventory still pose a significant problem for retailers.

As a firm believer in Jim Collins’ “autopsies without blame,” I want to stress that in asking this question, I am not pointing an accusatory finger at anyone or anything regarding where we are today with digital transformations. After all, the 2019 Deloitte Global CPO Survey reported that “a large percentage of companies that have fully implemented these modern technologies are not actually satisfied with the results.”

If you consider the Deloitte findings and the issues that Target and Walmart are facing regarding inventory management, shouldn’t technology alleviate some, if not most, of these issues?

Anyway, have a read of the above article, then let me know what you think.


Posted in: Commentary