“Lucky” Merchants Not Suffering from Post-Tsunami Inventory Woes

Merchants interviewed by CATALOG AGE are counting their blessings that none of their suppliers have been hurt by December’s tsunami in Southeast Asia. None of the catalogers have reported hearing of deaths or injuries among their vendors, nor are they experiencing major delays in shipments of goods from Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and India.

David Hochberg, spokesperson for White Plains, NY-based gifts cataloger Lillian Vernon Corp., reports that Vernon’s vendor network has thus far essentially dodged a bullet. “All of our business in those areas hit by the disaster seems to have been completely unaffected,” says David Hochberg, spokesperson for White Plains, NY-based gifts and housewares merchant Lillian Vernon Corp. “None of our vendors have been slowed down, and we have not experienced any problems or delays in shipping. We have been very fortunate.”

Rich Donaldson, spokesperson for Freeport, ME-based apparel and outdoor cataloger L.L. Bean, echoes Hochberg’s sentiment: “In the wake of everything that has happened, we have not experienced really any problems. We were lucky.”

Some of Cabela’s vendors have experienced “minor shipping delays” in the Sri Lanka region, says Joe Arteburn, marketing director for the Sidney, NE-based cataloger/retailer of outdoor sporting gear. But in general, business has been so far unaffected, he adds.

According to the National Council of Textiles, one potential problem for those companies that source from Southeast Asia may result from overcrowded shipping lanes. Relief supplies going into these regions are understandably a higher priority than commercial shipments heading to the U.S.