FINANCE

Consumer spending rises in February

BY Marianne Wilson

Washington, D.C. — Consumers opened up their pocketbooks a bit in February, according to figures released Friday by the U.S. Commerce Department. Consumer spending increased 0.3% last month after a downwardly revised gain of 0.2% in January. The February increase was the biggest since November.

Personal income was up 0.3%, matching January’s gain. It was the second straight monthly increase.

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FINANCE

Report: U.S. retailers have $300 million credit with ocean freight carriers

BY Dan Berthiaume

Washington, D.C. – U.S. retailers reportedly have $300 million in refunds with ocean freight vendors, yet they are unaware of this because of invoice errors by their ocean freight transportation providers. According to a report from ocean freight auditing service Ocean Audit, problems with infrastructure of ocean freight carriers are also part of the issue.

Ocean Audit data indicates that manually-driven processes, which include invoicing, have an adverse effect on the accuracy of pricing for more than 40 million containers that are shipped annually to the U.S. More than 12% of all ocean freight invoices are reportedly defective.

“U.S. retail companies have been paying overcharges to ocean freight vendors for decades,” said Steve Fereirra, president of Ocean Audit. “This is due to them not having robust controls in place to audit and identify these errors. Without preventive measures in place, these overcharges will continue to cost U.S. retailers millions of dollars in lost profits each year. To make matters worse, consumers end up bearing the brunt of these overages when they make purchases because retailers have no choice but to increase the in-store or e-shop retail price to ensure each imported product is profitable.”

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SUPPLY CHAIN

PetSmart opens new DC in Pennsylvania

BY Dan Berthiaume

Phoenix — PetSmart on Friday celebrated the opening of a new distribution center in Berks County, Pa.

The new facility will bring an estimated 500 jobs to Berks County by the end of 2016. The 870,000-sq.-ft. DC will serve 25% of PetSmart’s stores in eleven states, handling and delivering consumables, hard goods and fish to 170 PetSmart stores in 2014 and more than 260 stores by 2015.

The $50 million facility is the result of PetSmart’s growth and increased demands on its supply chain. Within proximity of more high volume stores, the new build-to-suit DC will provide transportation savings and enable a significant percentage of PetSmart’s over 1,240 stores to be serviced from this location.

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