Reuters

Santa Claus is coming to town – but at what cost to Walmart and Target?

Pent-up demand is expected to have boosted early holiday sales this year, but big discounters Walmart and Target may still see margins fall as surging costs for labor, warehousing and ocean and land freight threaten to play Grinch. Shipping logjams, shuttered factories in China and Vietnam, and a scarcity of raw materials have ripped through supply chains in the United States in recent months, and left companies scrambling to make sure they have enough product for the crucial holiday shopping season. For the third quarter, both costs of goods sold and selling, general and advertising expenses for Target are expected to rise about 10%, while Walmart’s operating expenses are expected to rise nearly 4% to $28.57 billion, according to Refinitiv data.

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