The Friday Report: October 23rd, 2020

Quick wrap up of a few hot topic newsworthy stories in the supply chain logistics industry

Black Friday Retailers Sideline Consumers at Home

How will retail fare this holiday season?  With many people still working from home and living through either public or self-imposed restrictions, Americans remain highly focused on comfort.  With their travel and entertaining dollars not being spent in the usual manner, consumers have continued to shift their spending to improve their home surroundings.

From electronics to home goods, American consumers continue to spend, albeit often at a distance, online.  As consumers have realized that household and pantry items are not going out of stock, their attention has shifted to a more long-term approach.  Consumers have begun to realize that the pandemic is likely to last into 2021 and have been adjusting.

Part of this adjustment includes beginning the holiday shopping season earlier than in past years.  Starting with the kickoff event of Amazon Prime Days last week, online retailers counter-programmed, offering aggressive sales during the same time period.  This year, Black Friday will mean dark brick-and-mortar stores as many top name retailers give workers a break on Thanksgiving Day to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 from the typical crowded shopping conditions.  Industry experts anticipate that merchandise will be sparse in stores this year as many brands have had financial struggles during the year.

The Changing 2020 Holiday Shopping Season

As consumers gear up to fulfill optimistic projections of a thriving shopping season, retailers have been taking a longer view.  Here is how the season is shaping up so far:

 

  1. E-commerce continues to dominate. Across the company, COVID-19 continues to rage.  Even as more brick-and-mortar retailers are open, consumers have been practicing restraint, spending less time in stores as compared to previous years.  Online shopping has proven to be an effective substitute.
  2. Brick-and-mortar stores take the lead in fulfillment. Consumers have proven to favor curbside pick up and in-store pick up options. Retailers have responded by temporarily increasing their staffs.
  3. Concerns over the USPS lead to worries about shipping. Experts advise that shipping is likely to take longer this year as demand goes through the roof.
  4. Consumers plan fewer store visits and shopping trips. With the holiday rush, retailers will need to put safety measures in place including increased cleaning efforts, social distancing and placing limitations on the number of shoppers in stores.  This is likely to mean shorter shopping hours.  Consumers will likely need to spend more time planning visits and less time in stores.

FDA Announces Approval of Antiviral Drug for

COVID-19

During the course of the pandemic, drug maker Gilead escalated production of its antiviral product Remdesivir.  Gilead also increased investment into increased manufacturing capacity, widened its contract manufacturing network.  As one of the only therapeutics for COVID-19, the drug now has been granted an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  Remdesivir is the first therapeutic for COVID-19 to receive FDA approval.

In terms of distribution, hospitals are able to purchase Remdesivir directly from distributor AmerisourceBergen, the sole U.S. distributor through the end of 2020. This will enable hospitals to have control over the quantity of Remdesivir ordered, providing an adequate predictable supply in advance of need during COVID-19 flare-ups.

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