▶ Watch Video: Last-minute holiday shoppers scramble amid COVID concerns and increased demand for goods

Many last-minute shoppers are hearing the words “out of stock.” A nationwide supply chain shortage has left orders that were supposed to be delivered to stores on cargo ships.  

“There’s a lot of us explaining to people that, you know, we don’t have a lot of what you might be looking for,” Cliff Moss, owner of Houston’s Fundamentally Toys, told CBS News. 

Many of Moss’s items never arrived even though it’s been months since they were expected—leaving many of his holiday shoppers empty-handed.  

“There’s a lot of things that we were expecting, were expected two months ago. We get emails daily about, you know, ‘Sorry it’s still on the water,'” Moss said to CBS News’ Janet Shamlian. 

Despite the backlog, the National Retail Federation expects record growth, predicting an 11% increase in holiday sales this year—all in the face of the Omicron variant that has plagued the holiday season.  

Shopping amid shipping delays


“There’s a lot of uncertainty surrounding the new variant. It’s impacting different parts of the country and in different ways,” said Katherine Cullen, the senior director of industry and consumer insights at the National Retail Federation. 

With many online retailers now unable to deliver in time for Christmas, shoppers are looking to physical stores – even as Omicron surges. 

“They’re really involved with the holiday season and not thinking about the pandemic so much anymore,” Moss said. 

For those hoping to get it all done before Christmas, long lines should be expected at stores and at shipping centers. The window for on-time shipping has passed but it’s not stopping people from mailing out their gifts.  

“Right now, I’m at USPS and they really helped me get my last-minute shopping sent out. I’ve been praying, keeping my hopes up and keeping the holiday spirit alive,” one person said.