NRF/Hackett Associates report: Imports break records two months in a row as retailers brought in merchandise for the holiday season

WASHINGTON, 2017-Oct-12 — /EPR Retail News/ — Imports set a second all-time monthly record high this summer as retailers brought in merchandise for the busy holiday season, and are continuing at unusually high levels this month, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released today by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.

“When imports break records two months in a row, it’s hard to see that as anything other than a good sign about what retailers expect in consumer demand,” NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said. “Consumers are buying more, and everybody from dockworkers to truck drivers is trying to keep up. We hope this is a sign of a strong holiday season for retailers, shoppers and our nation’s economy.”

Ports covered by Global Port Tracker handled 1.8 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units in August, the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available. The volume was the highest recorded since NRF began tracking imports in 2000, topping the previous record of 1.78 million TEU set just one month earlier in July. The record before that had been 1.73 million TEU in March 2015. August was up 1.4 percent over July and 5.6 percent over August 2016. A TEU is one 20-foot-long cargo container or its equivalent.

September was estimated at 1.65 million TEU, up 3.7 percent from last year, and October is forecast at 1.72 million TEU, up 2.8 percent. While not a record, the October number would be one of only six times in the report’s history that any month has hit 1.7 million TEU or higher. November is forecast at 1.62 million TEU, down 1.7 percent from last year, and December is forecast at 1.59 million TEU, up 1.3 percent.

Growth has slowed from the first half of the year but 2017 is expected to total 19.8 million TEU, topping last year’s previous record of 18.8 million TEU by 5.4 percent. That compares with 2016’s 3.1 percent increase over 2015. The first half of 2017 totaled 9.7 million TEU, up 7.5 percent from the same period in 2016.

January 2018 is forecast at 1.64 million TEU, down 2 percent from January 2017, and February is forecast at 1.58 million TEU, up 10 percent from the same month in 2017.

The import numbers come as NRF is forecasting that 2017 retail sales  will grow between 3.2 and 3.8 percent over 2016 and that this year’s holiday sales will grow between 3.6 and 4 percent. Cargo volume does not correlate directly with sales because only the number of containers is counted, not the value of the cargo inside, but nonetheless provides a barometer of retailers’ expectations.

“The volume of containers imported through August continues to grow and we expect this to continue through October before a slack period arrives as the holiday season inventory buildup comes to an end,” Hackett Associates Founder Ben Hackett said. “We do expect growth in imports to slacken off in the coming year, but it will still remain positive.”

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.com

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

SOURCE: NRF

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J. Craig Shearman
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NRF/Hackett Associates Global Port Tracker report: August is expected to be the busiest month on record for imports

WASHINGTON, 2017-Aug-10 — /EPR Retail News/ — Boosted by continuing sales growth, August is expected to be the busiest month on record for imports at the nation’s major retail container ports and 2017 is on track to set a new annual high, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released today (August 9, 2017) by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.

“Retailers are selling more and that means they need to import more,” NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said. “With sales showing year-over-year increases almost every month for a long time now, retail supply chains are working hard to keep up. These latest numbers are a good sign of what retailers expect in terms of consumer demand over the next few months.”

Ports covered by Global Port Tracker handled 1.69 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units in June, the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available. That was down 2 percent from May but up 7.5 percent from June 2016. July was estimated at 1.72 million TEU, up 5.6 percent from the same time last year. One TEU is one 20-foot-long cargo container or its equivalent.

August is forecast at 1.75 million TEU, up 2.1 percent from last year. That would be the highest monthly volume recorded since NRF began tracking imports in 2000, topping the 1.73 million TEU seen in March 2015. The 1.7 million-plus numbers seen in May and July and now expected for August and October would represent four of the six busiest months in the report’s history.

September is forecast at 1.67 million TEU, up 4.7 percent from last year; October at 1.72 million TEU, up 3 percent; November at 1.62 million TEU, down 1.4 percent, and December at 1.59 million TEU, up 1.5 percent.

Those numbers would bring 2017 to a total of 19.7 million TEU, topping last year’s previous record of 18.8 million TEU by 4.9 percent. That compares with 2016’s 3.1 percent increase over 2015. While July numbers are not yet final, the first half of 2017 tentatively totaled 9.7 million TEU, up 7.4 percent from the same period in 2016.

The import numbers come as retail continues a long-term pattern of increased sales. Total retail sales have grown year-over-year every month since November 2009, and retail sales as calculated by NRF – excluding automobiles, gasoline stations and restaurants – have increased year-over-year in all but three months since the beginning of 2010. Retail employment, despite recent short-term fluctuations, has increased by 1.5 million jobs during the same period.

NRF has forecast that 2017 retail sales – excluding automobiles, gasoline and restaurants – will increase between 3.7 and 4.2 percent over 2016, driven by job and income growth coupled with low debt. Cargo volume does not correlate directly with sales because only the number of containers is counted, not the value of the cargo inside, but nonetheless provides a barometer of retailers’ expectations.

Hackett Associates Founder Ben Hackett noted that U.S. gross domestic product grew 2.6 percent in the second quarter of this year, more than double the 1.2 percent seen in the first quarter.

“This relatively strong growth underlies the robust level of imports we have forecast and witnessed,” Hackett said.

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.com

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

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

Source: NRF

NRF/Hackett Associates report: Retail imports should continue to increase throughout spring and summer as economy improves

WASHINGTON, 2017-Apr-12 — /EPR Retail News/ — Imports at the nation’s major retail container ports should continue to see strong increases throughout the spring and summer as the nation’s economy improves, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released today by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.

“Consumers are spending more, and these import numbers show that retailers expect that to continue for a significant period,” NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said. “This is a clear sign that the economy has long-term momentum regardless of month-to-month fluctuations. Whether it’s merchandise for store shelves or parts for U.S. factories, imports play a vital role in American prosperity.”

“Our view that imports will continue to be stable despite the uncertainties of the new administration’s trade policies remains unchanged,” Hackett Associates Founder Ben Hackett said. “Despite pre-election promises, there has been little real change in trade policy so far and little change is expected for the greater part of the year.”

Ports covered by Global Port Tracker handled 1.43 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units in February, the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available. That was a decrease of 14.3 percent from January as many Asian factories shut down for Lunar New Year, and down 7 percent from the same month a year ago. Coming after the winter holidays and before retailers stock up for summer, February is historically the slowest month of the year for imports. One TEU is one 20-foot-long cargo container or its equivalent.

March was estimated at 1.61 million TEU, up 21.5 percent from unusually low numbers last year, when Lunar New Year came a week later than this year. April is forecast at 1.59 million TEU, up 10.3 percent from last year; May at 1.68 million TEU, up 3.5 percent; June at 1.66 million TEU, up 5.3 percent; July at 1.71 million TEU, up 5.1 percent, and August at 1.74 million TEU, up 1.6 percent.

The first half of 2017 is expected to total 9.6 million TEU, up 7.3 percent from the first half of 2016. Cargo volume for 2016 totaled 18.8 million TEU, up 3.1 percent from 2015, which had grown 5.4 percent from 2014.

NRF has forecast that 2017 retail sales – excluding automobiles, gasoline and restaurants – will increase between 3.7 and 4.2 percent over 2016, driven by job and income growth coupled with low debt. Cargo volume does not correlate directly with sales because only the number of containers is counted, not the value of the cargo inside, but nonetheless provides a barometer of retailers’ expectations.

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.com

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

Contact:

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

Source: NRF

NRF and Hackett Associates report: Import cargo volume to increase this month as merchants stock up for the back-to-school season

WASHINGTON, 2016-Jul-14 — /EPR Retail News/ — Import cargo volume at the nation’s major retail container ports should see a small-but-significant increase this month as merchants stock up for the back-to-school season, then see a larger wave in late summer and fall for the holiday shopping season, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released today by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.

“Back-to-school and the holidays are the two biggest shopping seasons of the year for retailers and these numbers reflect that,” NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said. “After a year of difficult comparisons in the wake of the West Coast ports slowdown, we’re finally starting to see normal trends. Some numbers are still down from last year, but the pattern of building up toward the big seasons has returned.”

Ports covered by Global Port Tracker handled 1.63 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units in May, the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available. That was up 12.8 percent from April and 1.1 percent from May 2015. One TEU is one 20-foot-long cargo container or its equivalent.

June was estimated at 1.56 million TEU, down 0.5 percent from the same month last year. July is forecast at 1.64 million TEU, up 1.4 percent from last year; August at 1.65 million TEU, down 2 percent; September at 1.58 million TEU, down 2.6 percent; October at 1.62 million TEU, up 4.4 percent, and November at 1.52 million TEU, up 2.8 percent. Even though volume will be lower than the same month last year, August is expected to be the peak shipping month of the year.

The first half of 2016 is expected to total 8.99 million TEU, up 1.5 percent from the same period in 2015. Total volume for 2015 was 18.2 million TEU, up 5.4 percent from 2014.

“Trade is holding on to a small margin of growth, but this growth comes in the face of some adverse statistics as well as positive ones,” Hackett Associates Founder Ben Hackett said. “The good news is that retail sales have remained positive as the consumer continues to cautiously spend. The hope is that this spending will continue.”

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

Contact:

J. Craig Shearman
(202) 626-8134

press@nrf.com
(855) NRF-Press

Source: NRF