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NRF Predicts Steady Growth for Retail Container Traffic

Published: 20 May 2015 01:05:40 PST

Despite continued high unemployment and fiscal uncertainty, consumers are spending again….cautiously, but spending.

Import cargo volume at the nation’s major retail container ports is expected to increase 6.3% in August compared with the same month last year according to the monthly report released this week by the National Retail Federation. U.S. ports followed by Global Port Tracker (Los Angeles/Long Beach, Oakland, Seattle, Tacoma, New York/New Jersey, Hampton Roads, Charleston, Savannah, Miami, and Houston) handled 1.41 million TEUs in June, the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available. That was up 4.7% from May and 10.7% from June 2011.

The increased consumer spending was evident in a burst of retail earnings reports for the 2nd quarter, which ended in late July. Home Depot said healthy sales of paint, bathroom accessories and kitchen installations helped lift its net income 12% and  Macy's raised its annual earnings projection last week after reporting a 16% increase in net income in the second quarter. With U.S. retail sales on the rise for the first time in months, it is a sign that consumers could drive faster economic growth in the third quarter, which comprises the three key months of the year when retailers import the bulk of the merchandise they will sell during the holiday season. Growth is expected through the rest of the year but an abundance of ocean capacity still remains, as seen in our latest complimentary Capacity Utilization Report available for download.

Other discoveries from the July report include:
    • Clothing and clothing accessories stores' sales increased 0.8% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and 2.6% unadjusted YOY.
    • Electronics and appliance stores’ sales increased 0.9% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month yet decreased 1.1% unadjusted YOY.
    • Furniture and home furnishing stores’ sales increased 1.1% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and 9.0% unadjusted YOY.
    • General merchandise stores’ sales increased 0.7% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month yet decreased 1.4% unadjusted YOY.
    • Health and personal care stores’ sales increased 1.1% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and 0.7% unadjusted YOY.
    • Sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores’ sales increased 1.6% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and 8.0% unadjusted YOY.
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