Columbus Day sales ditched by retailers amid supply chain disruptions, 'Indigenous Peoples' Day' culture wars

Supply chain disruptions put future of retail in doubt

Columbus Day sales are waning in popularity among retailers, and not for the reason some people may think.

The decrease in Columbus Day sales is not just because of its controversial namesake, but many retailers are having to do away with large weekend-only sales events because of supply chain disruptions that have cast the future in doubt, Axios reported Saturday.


"If you make a big deal about this weekend and say you’re going to have a lot of great products, you’re going to basically set yourself up for a stockout and disappoint a bunch of people," Marc Rousset, a partner in the retail and consumer goods practice at the consulting firm Oliver Wyman, told Axios.

"I wouldn't be surprised to see Memorial Day [sales] go next," he said. "That's kind of bold — I don't know that I would bet the farm on that — but I think people, you know, see the benefits of simplifying."

The Columbus Day sale is easily among the first to go amid the ongoing culture wars associated with the Italian explorer, and "Indigenous Peoples' Day sale" doesn’t quite have the same ring. While some retailers are still having sales this weekend, they’re often rebranded as "fall" sales or something less controversial.

"I think this one is an easy one that they can just say, 'Hey, I'm just going to rename the sale or cancel the sale and not worry about it,'" Katie Thomas, leader of the Kearney Consumer Institute, told Axios.

"Some of those sales are just a little bit outdated or relics of the past," she added. "Some of the traditional department store sales, like a white sale, just aren't quite as relevant anymore."


The news comes amid global supply chain disruptions that have dramatically slowed down the manufacturing, processing and transportation of goods across the globe and caused prices to skyrocket.

The Federal Reserve has said the price increases in the wake of COVID-19 are "transitory" and that those pressures will subside as the supply chain disruptions are resolved. While Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell acknowledged the slowdown has lasted longer than expected, he said he anticipates it will start improving next year.