Here come the discounts at Walmart, Target and other popular stores

A glimmer of relief is emerging at the checkout aisle: the return of discounts.

Walmart, Best Buy, Gap, Target, Bath & Body Works and others are increasing promotions and lowering prices on merchandise to entice inflation-weary shoppers to buy extra goods sitting on their shelves.

Months ago these chains stocked up on merchandise, preparing for supply chain shortages and what they projected to be robust consumer demand. But since they ordered, their plans have been derailed by the highest inflation in more than 40 years and slumping consumer confidence.

Rising inflation has forced many consumers to pull back — particularly low-and-middle income shoppers, several retailers say. Cash-strapped shoppers are struggling to afford groceries and gas and have curtailed their discretionary spending.

This has left retailers with too much of the wrong stuff: Think back to the early days of the pandemic, when everyone was redoing their homes and buying new laptops. Stores are overloaded with that stuff now, and they need to discount those items to juice demand.

<p>Discounts are back. A woman here shops at a Target store in New York City, July 21.</p>

Anthony Behar/Sipa/AP

Discounts are back. A woman here shops at a Target store in New York City, July 21.

“These retailers have mispositioned their inventory,” said Brian Nagel, a retail analyst at Oppenheimer & Co. “In certain areas, they’re too heavy on inventory and need to clear it out.”

So shoppers can expect to find more deals on discretionary goods such as clothing, electronics, furniture, home goods and bath items — the stuff that has been highly sought after since the start of the pandemic and many people may have already bought.