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COVID-19 disruptions forecast to soften holiday retail

The coronavirus pandemic has slowed the flow of goods and services as workers have reduced hours, changed or left jobs and products have been slow to market. That makes for a rough holiday season ahead, potentially, according to Arizona Retailer Association Executive Director Michelle Ahlmer.

"The pandemic plays into the labor shortage — the pandemic plays into the labor shortage for transportation employees. The pandemic is definitely at the juxtaposition of it all," she said.

Global supply chain issues have impacted Arizona for months, and Ahlmer says it’s not likely to change anytime soon.

"Inventory is hard to come by so when you find something, we’re encouraging people to shop early and there’s a lot of good deals out right now," she said.

Ahlmer said delays are not expected to clear before the end of the year. The National Retail Federation will be releasing its annual holiday sales forecast Oct. 27. 

Heather van Blokland was a host at KJZZ from 2016 to 2021.