Black Friday at Walmart.Mary Meisenzahl/Insider
CEOs of major retailers, including Walmart, just told Biden supply-chain conditions are improving.
For an undisclosed reason, Biden canceled his briefing to reporters after his CEO summit.Advertisement
The same day, the FTC requested information from some of those executives. They have 45 days to comply.
From delayed couch deliveries to expensive Thanksgiving turkeys, Americans across the country have been experiencing the supply-chain crisis firsthand.
At the White House on Monday, the CEOs of major retailers told President Joe Biden that conditions are improving. is administration isn’t so sure.
The same day that Biden met with with retail CEOs including those for Walmart and Kroger, his antitrust watchdog, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), announced the launch of an inquiry into the supply-chain disruptions that are causing harm to consumers and harming competition in the US economy, and it ordered nine major retailers, including Amazon, Walmart, and Kroger, for their internal documents regarding strategies for supply issues and pricing of goods.
In between the two events, Biden canceled his planned remarks on the supply-chain crisis, raising eyebrows on Capitol Hill.
“Supply chain disruptions are upending the provision and delivery of a wide array of goods, ranging from computer chips and medicines to meat and lumber,” FTC Chair Lina Khan said in a statement. “I am hopeful the FTC’s new 6(b) study will shed light on market conditions and business practices that may have worsened these disruptions or led to asymmetric effects.”
Earlier that morning, Walmart CEO Doug McMillion expressed confidence on the supply-chain crisis, telling Biden that he’d seen “a lot of improvement.”
Elaborating, McMillon said Walmart actually had more inventory than a year ago, and the company is “seeing progress. The port and transit delays are improving.” He credited the Biden administration’s work easing the logjam of shipping containers at ports, saying there had been about a 26% increase in throughout over the last four weeks nationally, and 51% in southern California ports.
“Wow,” the president responded.
Supply shortages caused Turkey prices to surge around Thanksgiving, while Americans’ outlook on Christmas isn’t too hot either, with items including Christmas trees potentially in short supply. Insider’s Hillary Hoffower reported that lack of availability on a number of goods, accompanied by surging prices, is making Americans across the country grumpy.
Biden expressed optimism during the meeting, saying the holiday season “feels a lot more like the ones we had in the past.” But his expression of surprise may have prompted the FTC to inquire further. The White House and FTC don’t seem to have all the information about this supply-chain crisis, and they want more answers.
The FTC did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
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