By Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Will that special gift be available this year? Or will the store shelves be bare when consumers go shopping?

On Wednesday, President joe Biden announced he is working on what he called a “90-day sprint” to eliminate bottle necks that have contributed to empty shelves and higher prices across the nation.

But what are consumers’ chances of finding what they’re looking for come the holiday season?

Best Buy CEO Corie Barry went on the Today Show saying the company shelves are well stocked.

“We are going into the Holiday with 20% more inventory than we had two years ago and 50% more than we had last year,” she said.

Target put out a press release saying its “inventory is up substantially over the same time last year.”

Experts say companies are trying to reassure customers, but the reality is that any store could at any time have low supplies or be out of a certain item.

Professor George John of the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management said the bottlenecks are not going to hit all companies equally.

“Availability is going to be varied across places, so check all the usual places and some of the not so usual places,” he advised.

To blame for the bottlenecks are increasingly sophisticated products. And, in recent months, the soaring worldwide demand as consumers try to creep back to pre-pandemic lives.

Should consumers should expect that things will be more expensive? Yes, John said. According to the professor, there is no doubt that price hikes are hitting every durable goods industry.

“Inflation is a much bigger deal than these shortages,” he said.

Experts suggest if you have that one item that you know you are going to buy, get it early. While buying early has usually meant better prices, this year, with inventories fluctuating, consumers could see some of the best deals later – that is, if stores haven’t run out.

Esme Murphy