Early sales, staffing shortages, lines

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As the strained world supply chain continues to be pushed to its limits in the aftermath of the lingering COVID-19 pandemic, one perfect storm awaits with the potential to shake an already bleak situation into a full-blown catastrophe: Holiday shopping. 

Amid a global shipping crisis, a nationwide staffing shortage and a developing dearth of diesel fuel slowing down shipments on trucks, the crunch-time period of in-person holiday shopping from now until the end of the year faces many obstacles. Obstacles that could spiral into concerning levels when down-the-stretch shopping begins with Black Friday. 

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The nation’s labor shortage has caused increased wait times for everything from the fast food industry to accessing basic services like car repair or haircuts. 

Lauren Hughes, left, at Altar'd State rings up customer Olivia Loeffler of Loveland during Black Friday shopping at Kenwood Towne Center in 2016.

What to expect on Black Friday

Cincinnati’s Kenwood Towne Centre on Montgomery Road has pushed its hours back in anticipation of some of the challenges Black Friday could pose. The mall will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Black Friday rather than the normal early hours opening.

To prepare for Black Friday with staffing challenges, a number of retailers at the mall have bumped sales up early so folks can get discounts on items ahead of the one-day sale explosion, Kenwood senior general manager David Jacoby said.