Dunkin’ Donuts seeks franchisees throughout the state of Louisiana with an emphasis on New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Lake Charles and Lafayette

CANTON, MA, 2015-3-11 — /EPR Retail News/ — Dunkin’ Donuts, America’s all-day, everyday stop for coffee and baked goods, announced today the company is recruiting franchisees throughout the state of Louisiana with an emphasis on New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Lake Charles and Lafayette. Currently, there are nine Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants in the state.

Candidates interested in developing Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants throughout Louisiana can contact Reggie Wright, Director of Franchising, at Reggie.Wright@dunkinbrands.com to learn more. Also, entrepreneurs interested in learning about developing Dunkin’ Donuts throughout the U.S. can join the brand for an Informational Franchising Webinar that will be held on Wednesday, March 18 from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. (EST). Visithttp://franchisingevents.dunkinbrands.com to register and learn more about the unique franchising opportunity Dunkin’ Donuts offers.

As one of the fastest growing quick service (QSR) brands based on unit growth, the company continues to strategically expand in contiguous markets around the country with a long-term goal of having more than 17,000 Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants in the United States alone. To help fuel growth in Louisiana, special development incentives are available which include reduced royalty fees for three years and up to $10,000 in local store marketing support for timely openings.*

“Dunkin’ Donuts is looking for qualified candidates with foodservice, operations and real estate experience to join our team and grow the brand in Louisiana,” said Grant Benson, CFE, vice president of global franchising and business development, Dunkin’ Brands. “By joining our team, franchisees become part of a nationally established brand that has been in existence for over 65 years, has 95 percent brand recognition in the U.S., a multi-million dollar advertising fund, world-class training and ongoing support, among many other benefits.”

In an effort to keep the brand fresh and competitive, Dunkin’ Donuts offers flexible concepts for any real estate format including free-standing restaurants, end caps, in-line sites, gas and convenience, travel plazas, universities, as well as other retail environments.

Dunkin’ Donuts’ new look includes four distinct restaurant design options for franchisees, each featuring variations in layout, color schemes, graphics, textures, furniture and/or lighting. The designs enhance the current restaurant appearance, environment and layout to serve people all day long. Unlike other quick-service restaurants, Dunkin’ Donuts allows franchisees to select individual elements from any of the four options, creating a restaurant design that reflects their personal tastes and preferences, and best serves their specific restaurant size and location.

Since the 1950s, Dunkin’ Donuts has been a daily ritual for millions of people and has offered guests delicious food, beverages and friendly service at a great value. Dunkin’ Donuts offerings include hot and iced coffee, flavored coffees, lattes, hot and iced tea, Dunkin’ Donuts K-Cup® Packs, Coolatta® frozen drinks, donuts, muffins, bagels, breakfast and bakery sandwiches, and a DDSMART® menu featuring better-for-you items.

For information on franchise opportunities or to attend an upcoming webinar, please visit www.dunkinfranchising.com.

*Details available in the Dunkin’ Donuts Franchise Disclosure Document

About Dunkin’ Donuts
Founded in 1950, Dunkin’ Donuts is America’s favorite all-day, everyday stop for coffee and baked goods. Dunkin’ Donuts is a market leader in the hot regular/decaf/flavored coffee, iced coffee, donut, bagel and muffin categories. Dunkin’ Donuts has earned the No. 1 ranking for customer loyalty in the coffee category by Brand Keys for nine years running. The company has more than 11,300 restaurants in 36 countries worldwide. Based in Canton, Mass., Dunkin’ Donuts is part of the Dunkin’ Brands Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: DNKN) family of companies. For more information, visit www.DunkinDonuts.com.

CONTACT INFORMATION

Name: Jenna Kantrowitz
Phone: 954-893-9150
Name: Rachel Tabacnic
Phone: 954-893-9150

Haggen takes ownership of its very first store in California

HELLO HAGGEN, GOODBYE HASSLE

Haggen Brings Exciting New One-Stop Grocery Shopping Experience to California;  Conversion of 83 Stores Begins with La Costa Location 

Regional grocery chain takes ownership of first acquired store in California at 12:01 a.m. Monday morning, March 9 reopening on Wednesday, March 11 

Irvine, Calif., 2015-3-11 — /EPR Retail News/ — West Coast regional grocery chain Haggen (pronounced “hay-gunn”) will take ownership of its very first store in California, the Albertsons located at 7660 El Camino Real in Carlsbad, California, at 12:01 a.m. Monday, March 9. The new store, refreshed to reflect Haggen’s focus on fresh, locally sourced products alongside everyday big brands, is scheduled to open its doors to La Costa shoppers on Wednesday, March 11. The pharmacy will be open during the conversion starting mid-day Monday. The store is the first of 83 stores in California it plans to acquire and convert to the Haggen brand in the first half of 2015.

Once the acquisition is completed, Haggen will expand from 18 stores with 16 pharmacies to 164 stores with 106 pharmacies; from 2,000 employees to more than 10,000 employees; and from a Pacific Northwest company with locations in Oregon and Washington to a major regional grocery chain with locations in Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada and Arizona.

“We’re excited about the changes we’re making to enhance these stores with more locally sourced food offerings, genuine service and homemade quality, and we’re confident customers will like the new look, convenience and value offered at our new Haggen one-stop, full-service grocery destinations,” said Bill Shaner, Haggen CEO Pacific Southwest. “Haggen has built its 81-year-old business on providing excellent fresh produce and high quality meats and seafood. That focus will definitely be reflected in each of the 100 stores we’re opening in California, Nevada and Arizona, introducing shoppers to Haggen’s unique mix of healthy, hassle-free offerings.”

Haggen will take ownership and convert the 83 stores across California in March, April and May. The 26 Washington store conversions began in mid-February, and 20 Oregon store conversions will begin in mid-March. The seven Nevada and 10 Arizona stores will be the last to convert in late spring. Each week, between one and 12 stores will be converted.

 Enhanced Offerings, Same Friendly Faces

At Haggen, shoppers can expect enhanced, fresh offerings, homegrown quality and affordable prices, along with exceptional service and the friendly faces they already know in the store. As each new store is transformed into the Haggen brand, employees will be invited to become Haggen employees.

 “We’re proud to continue employing all the wonderful associates our customers look for when they shop and offering shoppers the essential items they need, specialty items they want, and locally relevant items that reflect the community,” added Shaner.

Haggen’s commitment to being local extends beyond its sourcing and into the communities around its stores. Haggen plans to partner closely with local farmers and producers to sell their products on Haggen’s shelves; with community members to give back through non-profit organizations; and small businesses to explore co-marketing programs.

About Haggen

Founded in 1933 in Bellingham, Washington, Haggen has built its business on providing guests the freshest and most local products with genuine service, while supporting the communities it serves. The company currently operates stores in Washington and Oregon, and is in the process of acquiring an additional 146 stores and establishing a second headquarters in Irvine, California. With this acquisition, Haggen will expand from 18 stores with 16 pharmacies to 164 stores with 106 pharmacies; from 2,000 employees to more than 10,000 employees; and from a Pacific Northwest company with locations in Oregon and Washington to a major regional grocery chain with locations in Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada and Arizona. Throughout its eight decades in business, the company has supported regional farms, ranches, fisheries and other businesses, creating a lasting and sustainable local food economy. The company remains focused on building local, sustainable food economies as it expands. For more information about what’s happening at Haggen, visit haggen.com.

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Media Contacts
Kris Ellenberg
kellenberg@goldpr.com
(310) 430-1772

Deborah Pleva
deb@weinsteinpr.com
(503) 250-4750

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Haggen takes ownership of its very first store in California

Haggen takes ownership of its very first store in California

CarMax, Inc. hiring for the company’s first store in Tallahassee, Florida

Retailer Known for Hiring Outside the Auto Industry Accepting Applications

RICHMOND, Virginia, 2015-3-11 — /EPR Retail News/ — CarMax, Inc. (NYSE: KMX), the nation’s largest retailer of used cars, is currently hiring for the company’s first store in Tallahassee, Florida. It will be CarMax’s 15th store in the state of Florida.

The new store, which is more than 8,000 square-feet, is scheduled to open in July 2015 at 3500 West Tennessee Street. Applications are now being accepted for the available positions on the retailer’s website at http://www.carmax.com/tallahassee.

Who is CarMax Hiring?

  • CarMax is seeking applicants for full-time positions.
  • Available positions include customer specialists, who work with the customers from start to finish on car purchases and appraisals, as well as auto repair specialists.
  • Auto Repair Specialists require previous automotive experience, however most positions do not.
  • Many CarMax associates have worked for other major retailers, such as Target, Lowe’s, Wal-Mart and Macy’s.

 

How Can Job Seekers Apply?

  • Applications are only accepted online. Job seekers should apply at http://www.carmax.com/tallahassee.
  • To see videos with first-hand accounts from CarMax associates, visit youtube.com/carmax.
  • CarMax will contact applicants and set up interviews after an initial review of applications.

 

About CarMax
CarMax, a member of the FORTUNE 500 and the S&P 500, and one of the FORTUNE “100 Best Companies to Work For” for 11 consecutive years, is the nation’s largest retailer of used vehicles. Headquartered in Richmond, Virginia, CarMax currently operates 144 superstores in 73 markets. The CarMax consumer offer features low, no-haggle prices, a broad selection of CarMax Quality Certified used vehicles, and superior customer service. During the 12 months ending February 28, 2014, the company retailed 526,929 used cars and sold 342,576 wholesale vehicles at our in-store auctions. For more information, access the CarMax website at www.carmax.com.

Media Contact
Michelle Ellwood, CarMax Public Relations, (804) 747-0422 ext. 4139
pr@carmax.com

Twitter: @CarMax, Facebook: facebook.com/CarMax

NACS and United Fresh publish “Building the Business Case for Produce Sales at Convenience Stores” to develop an enhanced produce offering in stores

​ALEXANDRIA, VA, 2015-3-11 — /EPR Retail News/ — A primer to help sell more produce in convenience stores was published today by the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) and the United Fresh Produce Association (United Fresh). “Building the Business Case for Produce Sales at Convenience Stores” combines analysis of industry and consumer trends with practical ideas to develop an enhanced produce offering in stores.

The new publication is the first deliverable from the partnership that NACS and United Fresh formed in June 2014 to identify best practices to grow produce sales in convenience stores.  More than two dozen retailers, distributors and produce companies helped develop and review the document, which can be downloaded here.

“We have seen a dramatic increase for customer demand for fresh produce at convenience stores, and this resource was developed to communicate the huge opportunities for everyone in the distribution chain, from farm to store,” said NACS Chairman of the Board Steve Loehr, vice president of operations with La Crosse, WI-based Kwik Trip. “A recent NACS member survey reaffirms the importance of produce; 62% of members say that produce is important to their business plans in 2015.”

“Through contributions from NACS and United Fresh Member Companies participating in this effort, we have identified solutions in the distribution and merchandising of fresh produce, which ultimately will lead to new opportunities for produce suppliers, distributors and convenience store retailers to grow sales,” said United Fresh Chairman of the Board Ron Carkoski, president and CEO with Ephrata, PA-based Four Seasons Family of Companies.

A first step in this process is to build the business case for selling produce in convenience stores to all three critical groups: suppliers, distributors and retailers. The 26-page “Building the Business Case for Produce Sales at Convenience Stores” includes:

  • Demand, products and consumer trends that can affect sales success;
  • An overview of produce customer demographics and sales trends in convenience stores;
  • Key elements to consider in developing and executing a successful produce program;
  • Suggestions for how to start a program based on one retailer’s experience; and
  • An example of a fresh build-to book including background methodology.

The new document represents the first of several deliverables expected to be released by the NACS-United Fresh partnership this year. The groups are developing follow-up resources to help interested retailers determine the level of fresh produce that they can efficiently offer at stores and a checklist of critical areas to examine. The groups are also planning a number of educational sessions at upcoming industry events.

Additionally, they are examining how to manage costs associated with more frequent delivery of fresh produce to stores, merchandising techniques and handling procedures to minimize spoilage and marketing strategies to communicate this offer to consumers. Internally, the focus will be on training and education, potentially including educational sessions and special hands-on training at existing industry events.

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Founded in 1961 as the National Association of Convenience Stores, NACS (nacsonline.com) is the international association for convenience and fuel retailing. The U.S. convenience store industry, with more than 151,000 stores across the country, posted $696 billion in total sales in 2013, of which $491 billion were motor fuels sales. NACS has 2,100 retail and 1,600 supplier member companies, which do business in nearly 50 countries.

NACS survey: Consumer optimism fell from 54% to 44%, the largest decrease in optimism in more than two years as gas prices rise

​ALEXANDRIA, VA, 2015-3-11 — /EPR Retail News/ — Rising gas prices are taking a toll on consumer optimism about the economy, with optimism falling to its lowest level since August 2014. Consumer optimism fell from 54% to 44%, the largest decrease in optimism in more than two years, according to survey results released by the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS).

In the past month, gas prices rose 29 cents per gallon as refineries have begun the transition to produce the costlier summer-blend fuels that are required in many markets across the country. Over the past 15 years, gas prices have increased, on average, more than 50 cents per gallon during the February-to-May transition.

Consumers expect the upward trajectory of gas prices to continue, as three in four (73%) believe gas prices will be higher in 30 days than they are today — a noteworthy increase from 58% in February.

Weather may also play a role in consumer optimism. Consumer optimism was the lowest in the Northeast (37%), which has been battered by storms and cold weather this past month.

“While prices are rising, retail gross margins on gas are falling and now average 10 cents per gallon, about half of the 19 cents per gallon that they have averaged over the past five years,” said NACS Vice President of Strategic Industry Initiatives Jeff Lenard. “After factoring in expenses — especially credit card fees — profit margins across the country are slim or negative at the fuel pump now.”

With gas prices rising, consumers say they are more sensitive to the price at which they would change their behavior. The median fuel price consumers say they would try to reduce how much they drive is $3.50 per gallon, down from $4.00 this time last year. Similarly, the median price that consumers would seek out alternatives to drive is $4.14 per gallon, down from $4.70 in March 2014. Both of these figures are the lowest since NACS initiated the monthly consumer survey in January 2013.

“This lowering of the price threshold would seem to give evidence to the theory that consumers become much more sensitive to a spike after a period of lower prices,” said Lenard. “Consumer optimism has fallen to the level of August 2014, when gas prices were $3.50 a gallon, more than a dollar a gallon more than today.”

There is some good news in the findings. Despite the rise in gas prices, nearly one in five (19%) consumers say that they will spend more money on consumer goods over the next 30 days, the highest level since December when holiday shopping surged.

Younger consumers are most likely to spend and drive more this month. Of those ages 18-34, 27% say that they will shop more this month and 28% say that they will drive more, significantly higher than the overall average of 17%.

Over the past five months, consumer optimism has closely tracked miles per dollar spent on fuel, which measures self-reported fuel efficiency and gas prices.

NACS, which represents the convenience store industry that sells 80% of the gas sold in the country, conducts the monthly consumer sentiment survey to gauge how gas prices affect broader economic trends. The NACS survey was conducted by Penn, Schoen and Berland Associates LLC; 1,100 gas consumers were surveyed March 3-6, 2015. Summary results are at www.nacsonline.com/gasprices.

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Founded in 1961 as the National Association of Convenience Stores, NACS (nacsonline.com) is the international association for convenience and fuel retailing. The U.S. convenience store industry, with more than 151,000 stores across the country, posted $696 billion in total sales in 2013, of which $491 billion were motor fuels sales. NACS has 2,100 retail and 1,600 supplier member companies, which do business in nearly 50 countries.

BRC Global Standards reaches over 4000 subscribers worldwide for its new online publications platform BRC Participate

LONDON, 2015-3-11 — /EPR Retail News/ — BRC Global Standards today announced reaching over 4000 subscribers worldwide for its new online publications platform BRC Participate. The subscription site, which hosts over 140 BRC publications along with other content and resources, was launched just four months ago in November 2014.

BRC Participate BRC Participate provides online access to all BRC Global Standards and publications supporting the Standards, with all documents linked clause by clause to allow readers to drill down in greater depth in any area of the Standard.

An innovative and powerful online management system, BRC Participate offers an invaluable resource for sites, and can be an asset in growing knowledge and improving consistency. The digital offering helps suppliers all over the world to manage businesscritical information in support of quality control, safety, technical requirements and business processes.

Mark Proctor, CEO of BRC Trading, said: “BRC Participate is the most convenient and flexible way to access all the content produced by BRC Global Standards, with the five Standards, Interpretation Guidelines, all supporting publications, webinars and many more resources available online in one place. Over the coming months we will be adding further publications to help all manufacturers understand the BRC Global Standards certification scheme.”

(ENDS)

Notes to Editors

About BRC Global Standards
BRC Global Standards are the world’s biggest provider of safety and quality standards programmes for food manufacture, packaging, storage and distribution. BRC Global Standards are generated with the help of technical specialists, retailers, manufacturers and certification bodies from around the world, so everything is based on practicality, rigour and clarity.

The BRC Global Standards certification scheme offers comprehensive support to help new and established businesses to achieve and maintain their quality and safety aims.

For more information please visit www.brcglobalstandards.com.
You can visit BRC Participate at www.brcparticipate.com

Media Contacts:
BRC Press Office +44 (0)20 7854 8924 / +44 (0)7921 605544

Gap Inc. recognized by the Ethisphere® Institute as a 2015 World’s Most Ethical Company®

2015 Marks The Ninth Consecutive Year Gap Inc. Is Honored By Ethisphere

SAN FRANCISCO, 2015-3-11 — /EPR Retail News/ — Gap Inc. (NYSE: GPS) today announced it has been recognized by the Ethisphere® Institute, a leader in defining and advancing the standards of ethical business practices, as a 2015 World’s Most Ethical Company®. The annual designation recognizes organizations that foster a culture of ethics and transparency at every level of the company.

The company is one of only fifteen to have been honored every year since the list’s inception, underscoring Gap Inc.’s ongoing commitment to leading ethical business standards and practices, and driving long-term value for customers, employees, suppliers, and investors.

“We value and strive for ethical behavior and responsible practice in every role and function at Gap Inc.,” said Michelle Banks, executive vice president, global sustainability and chief compliance officer, Gap Inc. “We’re honored to be recognized again this year and remain committed to doing business with integrity.”

Gap Inc. received qualifying scores across five categories including ethics and compliance; corporate citizenship and responsibility; culture of ethics, governance, and leadership; innovation; and reputation.

“Earning this recognition involves the collective action of a global workforce from the top down” said Ethisphere Chief Executive Officer Timothy Erblich. “We congratulate everyone at Gap Inc. for this extraordinary achievement.”

The full list of the 2015 World’s Most Ethical Companies can be found here.

About Gap Inc.
Gap Inc. is a leading global retailer offering clothing, accessories, and personal care products for men, women, and children under the Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Piperlime, Athleta, and Intermix brands. Fiscal year 2014 net sales were $16.4 billion. Gap Inc. products are available for purchase in more than 90 countries worldwide through about 3,300 company-operated stores, over 400 franchise stores, and e-commerce sites. For more information, please visit www.gapinc.com.

About the Ethisphere Institute
The Ethisphere® Institute is the global leader in defining and advancing the standards of ethical business practices that fuel corporate character, marketplace trust and business success. Ethisphere has deep expertise in measuring and defining core ethics standards using data-driven insights that help companies enhance corporate character. Ethisphere honors superior achievement through its World’s Most Ethical Companies® recognition program, provides a community of industry experts with the Business Ethics Leadership Alliance (BELA) and showcases trends and best practices in ethics with the Ethisphere Magazine. Ethisphere is also the leading provider of independent verification of corporate ethics and compliance programs that include: Ethics Inside® Certification, Compliance Leader Verification™ and Anti-Corruption Program Verification™. More information about Ethisphere can be found at: http://www.ethisphere.com.

Dutch Association of Investors for Sustainable Development (VDBO) ranks Inditex as the top-performing retailer with a score of 82 out of 100

In its appraisal, the jury emphasised Inditex’s work in ensuring living wages for the textile workers comprising its supply chain.

Arteixo, Spain, 2015-3-11 — /EPR Retail News/ — The Responsible Supply Chain Benchmark 2014 report prepared by the Dutch Association of Investors for Sustainable Development (VDBO) ranks Inditex as the top-performing retailer with a score of 82 out of 100. In the overall ranking, Inditex is one of the four sector winners, alongside technology player Philips (92%), food and beverage company Heineken (77%) and builder Royal BAM Group (75%), all of which Dutch companies.

This is the first time that the report assesses non-Dutch companies, to which end it selected candidates from the universe of companies analysed by Robeco SAM, the sustainability investing specialist within Dutch group Robeco. The methodology used by the judging panel is focused on achievement of tangible targets by the contending companies on each of the criteria analysed.

The Dutch Association of Investors for Sustainable Development (VDBO), created 1995, works to create sustainable capital markets, markets that consider not only financial criteria but also non-financial, social and environmental criteria.

Inditex’s sustainability pledge is also evident in the scores obtained in other benchmark indices such as the FT4Good (rankings compiled by Ethical Investment Research Service) and the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, in which the Group has featured non-stop since 2001, achieving an overall score in 2014 that places it ahead of 98% of its international retailing peers.

For any press request please contact with:

Communication and Corporate Affairs Division
Edificio Inditex

Avda. de la Diputación s/n
15143 – Arteixo
A Coruña – ESPAÑA

Tlf: +34 981 185 400
Fax: +34 981 185 544
comunicacion@inditex.com

National Retail Federation comments on the introduction of the Marketplace Fairness Act

NRF Welcomes Introduction of Marketplace Fairness Act

WASHINGTON, 2015-3-11 — /EPR Retail News/ — The National Retail Federation issued the following statement today from Senior Vice President for Government Relations David French on introduction of the Marketplace Fairness Act by Senators Mike Enzi, R-Wyo. and Dick Durbin, D-Ill.:

“We welcome this effort to level the sales tax playing field between Main Street merchants and online retailers. For far too long, brick-and-mortar retailers have faced a competitive disadvantage solely because of Congress’ inability to resolve the online sales tax disparity.

“Retailers should be allowed to compete for customers and sales on price, service and selection and not forced to compete on whether or not they collect state and local sales tax.

“The introduction of this legislation is a welcome sign that lawmakers may finally act on this retail industry priority, and builds upon ongoing activity in the House and Senate. It also comes on the heels of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy’s admission last week that the Court got it wrong on sales tax collection two decades ago and should revisit its decision.

“It is Congress’ responsibility to lay out a legislative framework on online sales tax collection and we hope that the introduction of this bill will spur congressional action to remedy this problem this year.”

A similar version of the Marketplace Fairness Act passed the U.S. Senate on May 6, 2013 with a broad, bipartisan vote of 69 to 27.

NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy. NRF’s This is Retail campaign highlights the industry’s opportunities for life-long careers, how retailers strengthen communities, and the critical role that retail plays in driving innovation. www.nrf.com

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Stephen E. Schatz
202-626-8119
press@nrf.com
(855) NRF-Press

National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates Global Port Tracker report: Import cargo volume expected to rise as West Coast ports begin to dig out from backlog

WASHINGTON, 2015-3-11 — /EPR Retail News/ — Import cargo volume at the nation’s major retail container ports is expected to rise an unusually high 16.9 percent this month over the same time last year as West Coast ports begin to dig out from a backlog of cargo that built up during just-concluded contract negotiations with dockworkers, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released today by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.

“The contract talks are over, but the tentative agreement still has to be ratified and it’s going to take months to get back to normal on the West Coast,” NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said. “Retailers’ immediate priority is to make sure spring merchandise reaches store shelves in time. Going forward, we want labor, management and Washington to work together to see that we never again have a situation like what we went through these past several months.”

Following negotiations that began last spring, the contract between the Pacific Maritime Association and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union expired on July 1. Despite ongoing talks, the lack of a contract and other operational issues led to crisis-level congestion at the ports, and retailers and other businesses asked President Obama in December to encourage the use of a federal mediator. A mediator joined the talks in January but a tentative agreement was not reached until February 20, after Labor Secretary Tom Perez sat down to personally broker a deal.

Ports covered by Global Port Tracker handled 1.24 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units in January, the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available. That was down 13.4 percent from December following the end of the holiday season and down 9.5 percent from January 2014. One TEU is one 20-foot-long cargo container or its equivalent.

February was estimated at 1.27 million TEU, up 2.3 percent from 2014. March is forecast at 1.52 million TEU as spring merchandise arrives, up 16.9 percent from last year. The March number is high both because of the backlog of ships at anchor waiting to be unloaded and because the annual Lunar New Year shutdown of Chinese factories was later this year, delaying some February cargo into March. April is forecast at 1.51 million TEU, up 5.2 percent; May at 1.57 million TEU, up 6.1 percent; June also at 1.57 million TEU, up 6 percent, and July at 1.6 million TEU, up 6.7 percent.

The first half of 2015 is forecast at 8.7 million TEU, an increase of 4.5 percent over the same period last year.

Congestion at West Coast ports has prompted many importers to shift their cargo elsewhere, prompting speculation on how long the shift might last. West Coast ports handled 55 percent of cargo this January, down from 64 percent during the same month in 2014, while East Coast ports handled 45 percent, up from 36 percent.

“Importers and exporters are reviewing their supply chain plans for the future, and not necessarily in favor of the West Coast,” Hackett Associates Founder Ben Hackett said. “Looking on the practical side, a number of factors favor a return to the West Coast.”

Hackett said sending ships from Asia to the East Coast is more expensive than the West Coast, takes longer, and results in higher expenses to move the cargo to Midwest distribution centers by rail. In addition, importers have significant investments in West Coast distribution centers that would not easily be abandoned.

Global Port Tracker, which is produced for NRF by the consulting firm Hackett Associates, covers the U.S. ports of Los Angeles/Long Beach, Oakland, Seattle and Tacoma on the West Coast; New York/New Jersey, Hampton Roads, Charleston, Savannah, Port Everglades and Miami on the East Coast, and Houston on the Gulf Coast. The report is free to NRF retail members, and subscription information is available at www.nrf.com/PortTracker or by calling (202) 783-7971. Subscription information for non-members can be found at www.globalporttracker.com.

NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy. NRF’s This is Retail campaign highlights the industry’s opportunities for life-long careers, how retailers strengthen communities, and the critical role that retail plays in driving innovation. NRF.com

Hackett Associates provides expert consulting, research and advisory services to the international maritime industry, government agencies and international institutions.www.hackettassociates.com

J. Craig Shearman
(202) 626-8134
press@nrf.com
(855) NRF-Press