Taking stock of retail inventories

After a boom in goods demand followed by a swing to services, where do retail inventories stand at the start of 2024?

Headshot of David Tinsley

David Tinsley

February 2024

Key takeaways

  • The pandemic and subsequent waning of consumer demand for goods saw U.S. retailers' inventory positions fluctuate. In early 2023, they found they had too much stock on their hands, adding to downward inflationary pressure. But where do we stand at the start of 2024?
  • We use a Bank of America corporate dataset to track U.S. retailers' payments to transportation companies as a proxy for their orders to suppliers. Our data suggests the inventory/sales ratio could be close to levelling off.
  • This matters as it could mean the downward pressure on goods price inflation from destocking may be a thing of the past.

Read our full analysis for a more in-depth look at these trends.