tv President Biden Meets with CE Os on Holiday Shopping CSPAN November 29, 2021 7:56pm-8:13pm EST
empowerment. that is why charter has invested billions in building infrastructure, upgrading technology in communities big and small. >> charter communications supports c-span as a public service, along with these television providers, giving you a front row seat to democracy. >> president biden met with executives from several big companies, including walmart, to talk about supply chain issues and the holiday shopping season. pres. biden: first of all, thanks for joining us today. i know how critically busy all of you are, and you are doing a heckuva job to make sure people aren't disappointed this thanksgiving and for christmas. i provided an update on the omnicron variant and told the
american people it is a cause for concern, but not a cause for panic. we are going to fight this with science and speed. we aren't going to fight it with chaos and confusion. we believe we can deal with it. thursday, i will put forward a detailed strategy on how to deal with this new variant. that is not shutdowns or lockdowns, but with more widespread vaccination, more boosters, testing and more. in the meantime, i've said the best protection against this new variant is to get vaccinated and get a booster shot, and i urge all americans, get it done today. there is no excuse. it is free. it's available. if you qualify for a booster, get it done today.
i know it is incredibly busy time for all of you today, and that is a very good thing from my perspective. then again, i am not doing all the work you all are doing. all kidding aside, this matters. i remember last year, families celebrating the holidays apart from one another, on video. this year, thanks to scientists, researchers and doctors, and the front-line workers who saw that the vaccine was administered, many of them employees in your stores who were able to have very different thanksgivings as a result of that with friends and family and most importantly, a little more hope. few americans were worried about putting food on the table.
4.5 million more americans than last year had the dignity of a job. consumer spending has recovered to where it was headed before the pandemic. current estimates are that black friday sales are up nearly one third since last year. in-store sales were up more than that. i believe it was 40-something percent. we are getting reports on small business saturday. i'm sure some people watching this online are also doing a little cyber monday shopping right now.
that is why i brought everyone together. the business leaders we've gathered represent a broad swath of american shopping, brick and mortar and online stores, national and local grocery chains, our nation's largest retailer, and the makers of toys, electronics and health supplies. i want to hear what you are seeing this holiday season, how well prepared you are to have the products you need on your shelves, and know how you have innovated and overcome these supply chain challenges. i want to hear about the challenges facing small businesses. small businesses are so important to our communities.
they do not have the same leverage as many of you do, and i want to hear your ideas on how the federal government can continue partnering with you all to keep shelves stocked so american consumers can get what they need. some of you have been working with my envoy to get goods through our ports faster, and we've seen some progress in that effort with a number of containers sitting on docks for more than eight days down by more than 40% this month. we keep building on that progress. i'd like to start a conversation, with your permission. food is obviously a big part of the holiday season, and your grocery store chain has a large footprint. you are in 10 states with over 1100 markets. how did thanksgiving go? can you tell me about your
company's ability to get the products you need from your suppliers and on store shelves? talk to me about what is going on. >> first of all, i'd like to say thank you for allowing us to come together today to talk about this important topic. certainly, the pandemic has had an impact, as you describe, on grocery shopping. our supply chain has been strong and robust. we have a wide variety for customers to choose from. however, they have changed their shopping patterns, and this is our second thanksgiving, as you
mentioned, during the pandemic. the holiday season is incredibly important. that relates to food, but also as it relates to our country, especially with thanksgiving, a time to come together and maintain traditions, start new traditions, maintain some sense of normalcy, and to move forward. thanksgiving is an incredibly important time for us. first and foremost, we started with an immense amount of planning to be ready for customers to be able to buy what they need in our stores. we worked early with our vendor partners to get clear on our forecasts for the business and what we could do together from a logistics standpoint to ensure
they had the supplies they needed, we have the supplies we need to get to customers. it's been a great cooperation and partnership. we've worked differently to figure out how to move the product, how to work with multiple farmers to get product directly to our stores. pres: biden: [indiscernible] >> we have a large program, and it's an important part of our produce department specifically. we have strong partnerships. pres. biden: one less question. was there any one product that was harder to garner than others
that is needed or not needed, but looked for for thanksgiving? >> there are so many that are special to individual people. we worked really hard to get all of them. if we couldn't get one kind, we got another brand. there was not one particular one we were focused on. pres. biden: glad you had it good. i know you don't have any numbers or ideas, but what do you expect for saturday and today echo >> we>> had a strong holiday season, and we expect that will continue into the christmas season. we have our own supply chain, so we have our own logistics network that helps us work with our partners to move product.
we also appreciate the infrastructure investment and jobs act that has helped to move us forward and will substantially improve the roads and bridges. pres. biden: i think people underestimate how out of sync our infrastructure has been for so long. i am looking forward to that being a lot better. i know you run a small outfit.
[laughter] i don't remember when -- it's not a question, but when you became the largest food retailer in the country, but i've spent more time walking through the aisles of walmart that i want to admit -- than i want to admit. there's one right on the street from where i live in delaware. how has it been this holiday season, doug, across the retail and grocery side? walmart has been working closely with my team to clear bottlenecks, and i appreciate the help at the ports of los angeles and long beach. have you seen any progress getting products from docs to your shelves? doug: thank you for the
question, and thank you for your partnership. thanks for shopping in our stores. i want to think our associates because they are doing an outstanding job and have been during this whole period. we think we are going to have a really good holiday season. we told everybody that our inventory levels are up more than 10%. while we are concerned about the supply chain, we have more inventory than we did a year ago and have more than we need to support the business. port and transit delays are improving. as you discussed, about two thirds of what we sell in the united states is made or grown here, another meaningful portion coming from canada and mexico. for products made outside of north america, the port issue has been a big issue. because of what you did to help with overnight hours and the team's work to reroute two other
ports and other creative solutions, we've seen an increase in flow of about 26% nationally in shipping containers moving through ports. at the southern california ports in particular, we've seen a major improvement. a lot is related to categories like toys, which are so important for christmas. we are working to make sure we are in a good position all the way through the season. generally speaking, we are in good shape and appreciate the partnership youpres. biden -- appreciate the partnership. pres. biden: the cooperation
between business and labor at the ports in southern california, it made me feel good that you were there. it didn't take much to convince that we should move to 24/7, seven days a week. thank you. ♪ >> cyber monday, the sale you've been waiting for, starts today at c-spanshop.org, c-span's online store. shop today and tuesday and save up to 35% on our latest collection of c-span sweatshirts, hoodies, blankets, and more. there is something for every c-span fan, and every purchase helps to support our nonprofit operations. shop cyber monday deals today and tuesday at c-spanshop.org. ♪ >> c-span's washington journal. every day, we are taking your
calls live on the news of the day, and we discussed policy issues that impact you. coming up tuesday, we will discuss president biden's economic policies with thomas onegin. then former u.s. senator heidi heitkamp talks about rural voters and their impact on elections. watch washington journal live at 7:00 eastern tuesday morning on c-span or on c-span now, our new mobile app. join the discussion with your phone calls, facebook comments, text messages and tweets. ♪
>> ultimate, a virtual discussion on how technology is changing health care. the center for american progress hosted this hour and a half event. >> we work with agencies and departments across the u.s. department making sure that all the american public can take advantage of the benefits of groundbreaking research, new