Did you notice Target's shoe department was out of stock on some items in recent months?

If so, you're a keen observer. Executives of the Minneapolis-based retailer nodded to the lighter inventories in shoes as one of the casualties of the West Coast ports slowdown earlier this year that resulted from a labor dispute. The labor issue has since been resolved though it took awhile for the ports to work through a backlog of shipments.

Like a number of other retailers, Target grappled with the delays by ordering extra inventory and re-routing shipments to other ports.

"However, despite these efforts, some categories including shoes, saw spotty in-stocks in the quarter and saw sales accelerate as receipts began to flow and in-stocks recovered," Kathee Tesija, Target's chief merchandising officer, told analysts on a conference call this morning.

She added that those delays are now "fully behind us."

Meanwhile, Wal-Mart executives said this week said the gridlock at the West Coast ports delayed shipments of TVs to Sam's Club and Walmart earlier this year.

Consulting firm Kurt Salmon has estimated that the West Coast ports congestion could cost retailers as much as $7 billion this year.

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