Report: Importers prep for uptick in consumer spending

New York City -- A report released Wednesday by Capital Business Credit said that importers who sell to America's major retailers are preparing for a significant uptick in consumer spending this spring and summer.

According to the quarterly Global Retail Manufacturers and Importers Survey, 43.2% of respondents believe that the 2012 spring season will be stronger than 2011, and 40% believe that the 2012 summer season will surpass last year's sales. Fears of a double dip seem to be declining, as an additional 40% of respondents believe that the spring and summer retail seasons will be at least as robust as last year's.

"Retailers have played it very close to the vest for the past several years, fearful of overstocking the shelves,” said Andrew Tananbaum, executive chairman of CBC. “As consumers begin to open their pocketbooks again, importers and manufacturers are finally beginning to see increases in orders and re-orders. This is indicative that a stronger retail and economic recovery is underway."

Forty percent of respondents indicated that retailers ordered more merchandise for the spring season as compared to last year. Twenty percent reported that orders stayed the same. An overwhelming 78.3% cited that they are receiving re-orders for spring merchandise – demonstrating stronger consumer demand than was initially anticipated.

While demand is increasing, margin pressures remain, with 62% of respondents citing that retailers are still relying on discounting to move product off the shelves.

Slightly more than one third (37%) of respondents indicated that they are seeing an increase in orders for the summer season, while 30.4% are seeing orders stay the same. The overwhelming majority (81.8% believe that the summer season will perform better than, or as well as, 2011.

While growth is expected for the summer, it is not at record breaking levels. Of those who believe that sales will be stronger, 45% believe it will be 3% to 5% stronger and 35% believe it will be stronger by 3% or less.

The Global Retail Manufacturers and Importers Survey polled more than 50 manufacturers and importers throughout the week of February 27, 2012.

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