I was cruising the web, and found an interesting post. It (seems) to say that retail inventories are low because: 1) Retailers don't want you to be able to 'stock up' or 2) Inventories are low because the store is in the hurt locker/getting ready to close... What are you seeing at your local outlets? We had local shortages because a re-supply ship was down for repairs. 80% of all goods and nearly all food comes to Alaska by ship. This appears to be a national trend.....according to this post. Hence my question of what is actually seen on the ground. ******************************** #1 (From DJ, January 24, 2016) "Steve- [Regarding the] alerts about the current state of the RR industry. This is in line with what I've been noticing as I visited our local/regional grocery store, Walmart, and Target this week in WI. I worked in big box retail for 20 years specializing in Inventory Management. These stores are all using computerized inventory management systems that monitor and automatically replenish inventory when levels/shelf stock get low. This prevents "out of stocks" and lost sales. These companies rely on the ability to replenish inventory quickly from regional warehouses. As I shopped this week and looked at inventory levels I was shocked. There were numerous (above and beyond acceptable levels) out of stocks across category lines at all three retailers. And even where inventory was on the shelf, the overall levels were noticeably reduced. Based on my experience, working for two of these three organizations in store management, they have drastically/intentionally reduced their inventory levels. This is either due to financial stresses/poor sales effecting their ability to acquire new inventory, or it could be the result of what was mentioned earlier regarding the transporting of goods to these regional warehouses. Either way this doesn't bode well for the what's to come. Stock up now while you can!" #2 (From a Commenter following up #1 who didn't provide a name, January 26, 2016) "I'd like to tailgate on the SQ Alert "based on my experienceâ€¦" regarding stock levels in big box stores. This weekend we were in two such stores, each in fairly isolated communities which are easily the communities' best source for acquiring grocery items in quantity. I myself worked in retail (meat) for thirty years so I know exactly what a well-stocked store looks like, understand the key categories and category drivers, and how shelves are stocked and displays are built to drive sales and profits. I also understand supply chain and distribution methodologies quite well. Each of the stores we were in were woefully under-stocked. This time of year-the few weeks following the holidays-is usually big business in groceries and low stock levels suggest either poor ordering at the store level, poor purchasing at the distribution level or a purposeful desire to be under-stocked. Anyone familiar with the retail grocery industry is also familiar with how highly touted "the big box store's" infrastructure is. They know exactly when demand is high and for what items and in what quantities. It is very unlikely that both stores somehow got "surprised" by unusually high demand. It is reasonable then to imagine that low stock levels in rural areas with few options is a purposed endeavor to assure that both the budget conscious and the folks in more remote areas are not fully able to load up their pantries. Simply put I believe the major retailer in question is doing their part to limit the ability of rural America to be sufficiently prepared. Nevertheless, we are wise to do our best to keep ahead of the curve. God bless your efforts, Steve." ***** Yes, this is just anecdotal evidence, but it lines up perfectly with hard numbers that I have been discussing on The Economic Collapse Blog. Exports are plummeting all over the globe, and the Baltic Dry Index just plunged to another new all-time record low. The amount of stuff being shipped around by air, truck and rail inside this country has been dropping significantly, and this tells us that real economic activity is really slowing down. If you currently work in the retail industry, your job is not secure, and you may want to start evaluating your options. We have entered the initial phases of a major economic downturn, and it is going to be especially cruel to those on the low end of the income spectrum. Do what you can to get prepared now, because the economy is not going to be getting better any time soon.