By: Jenn Hutto | Category Manager

During the past 12 months, we have seen a significant impact on the PPE category. Early on, the country was reaching for any option available. It seemed as though everyone was purchasing containers of masks from overseas, re-routing their production plants to produce some form of sanitizer, and/or changing their business structure to help provide PPE items to customers throughout the United States.

With the increased awareness of employee protection as stores begin to reopen, retailers are now striving to offer better options to their staff instead of just providing basic product selections. We have now found an overabundance of sanitizer options throughout our network and are working through existing inventory. Many suppliers have found themselves with excess product above and beyond current demand. Though there is still very much a place for masks, sanitizers, and gloves in the current economy, we now have the time to make strategic decisions while selecting options for our retailers. Our goal is to partner with our supplier network to help relieve them of outstanding product before producing additional inventory. Our key suppliers worked round the clock to find options for us early in the pandemic; we owe it to them to support them in return as we move into this second year of COVID and throughout 2021. We’ll be helping them to move their existing inventory and working together to make decisions that will set us all up for success in the next period as, we hope, the nation and the world begin to emerge from the pandemic.