This is where the discounts at Walmart, Best Buy and Gap come in


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CNN Business

A glimmer of relief appears in the checkout aisle: the return of rebates.

Walmart ( WMT ), Best Buy ( BBY ), Gap ( GPS ), Target ( TGT ), Bath & Body Works and others are ramping up promotions and slashing prices on items to entice inflation-weary shoppers to buy additional items that are on their shelves.

Months ago, these chains stockpiled goods, preparing for supply chain shortages and what they predicted would be strong consumer demand. But since ordering, their plans have been thwarted by the highest inflation in more than 40 years and falling consumer confidence.

Rising inflation has forced many consumers to pull back — especially low- and middle-income shoppers, several retailers said. Cash-strapped shoppers are struggling to afford groceries and gas and have curbed their discretionary spending.

That left retailers with too many things wrong: Think back to the early days of the pandemic, when everyone was renovating their homes and buying new laptops. Now the stores are overloaded with these things and have to reduce these items according to the demand for juice.

“These retailers have misplaced their inventory,” said Brian Nagel, retail analyst at Oppenheimer & Co. “In certain areas, they’re too heavy on inventory and need to clean it out.”

So shoppers can expect to find more deals on discretionary goods such as clothing, electronics, furniture, home goods and bathroom items – the things that have been in high demand since the pandemic began and many people may have already bought.

Walmart: “Rising rates of food and fuel inflation are affecting how customers spend,” affecting their ability to buy general merchandise, Walmart Chief Executive Doug McMillan said last week. Walmart said it will take more markdowns than it previously expected across inventory, especially clothing.

The company also unveiled a new program for customers to buy refurbished items from brands like Apple ( AAPL ) and Samsung at a low price.

Best Buy: On Wednesday, Best Buy said inflation is impacting consumer electronics spending and that the electronics industry will advertise more things.

“As high inflation has persisted and consumer sentiment has soured, customer demand in the consumer electronics industry has softened further,” said Best Buy CEO Corey Barry.

gap: Earlier this month, Gap said it increased promotions to take out inventory in its second quarter, while Bath & Body Works said it did the same as it saw store traffic slow.

“Customers, particularly lower-income customers, have become more cost-conscious and are limiting purchases and/or looking for items on sale at lower prices,” the company said. “They are affected by the overall inflationary environment.”

Purpose: Last month, Target said it carried too many large, bulky products like furniture, TVs and kitchen appliances in the previous quarter as consumers moved away from those products. “We didn’t anticipate the magnitude of this change,” said Target CEO Brian Cornell.

Target has reduced some of these larger items to make room for more in-demand products.

Discount Stores: Shoppers may also find more bargains at retail retailers, such as TJX ( TJX ) and Burlington ( BURL ), which are taking advantage of inventory gluts. These chains buy cheap, high-end goods, then turn around and sell them to shoppers at a discount from their original cost.

“The buying environment is better now than it has been for years,” Burlington CEO Michael O’Sullivan said last month. “We’re seeing brands that we haven’t seen in a few years.”

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