For U.S. consumers, Thanksgiving is still two months away. At grocery chain Tops Markets LLC, Jeff Culhane was shopping for turkeys last winter.
Tops and other U.S. supermarket operators started purchasing turkeys, spices and cranberry sauce early this year, aiming to avoid shortages that left some store shelves empty in 2020. Grocery chains are struggling with supply-chain challenges ahead of what is typically their busiest time of the year, and some executives said they are preparing for consumers to host larger gatherings than they did late last year—though it is becoming less clear how people will spend holidays as the Delta variant drives Covid-19 cases higher.
“We locked down turkeys in the second, third week of February,” said Mr. Culhane, senior vice president of merchandising for Tops.