SUPPLY CHAIN

NRF: Retail imports up for December, full year 2013

BY Dan Berthiaume

Washington, D.C. — Import volume at the nation’s major retail container ports is expected to grow 1.8% in December, compared to the same month last year, and the year should end with an increase of 2.3% from 2012. According to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates, U.S. ports followed by Global Port Tracker handled 1.43 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEU) in October, the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available.

That was down 0.4% from September as the peak shipping cycle wound down but up 6.4% from October 2012. One TEU is one 20-ft. cargo container or its equivalent. November was estimated at 1.33 million TEU, up 3.6% from last year. December is forecast at 1.31 million TEU, up 1.8% from last year. January 2014 is forecast at 1.35 million TEU, up 3.3% from January 2013; February at 1.18 million TEU, down 7.8% from last year; March at 1.32 million TEU, up 15.9%; and April at 1.38 million TEU, up 6.6%.

The total for 2013 is forecast at 16.2 million TEU, up 2.3% from 2012’s 15.8 million TEU. The first six months of 2013 totaled 7.8 million TEU, up 1.2% from the first half of 2012.

“Imports have seen good growth over last year and retailers are well-stocked as the holiday season continues,” Jonathan Gold, VP for supply chain and customs policy NRF said. “Holiday merchandise has made it from the ships to the shelves and the rest is up to the shoppers.”

The cargo numbers come as NRF predicts that this year’s holiday sales will grow 3.9% from last year to a total of $602.1 billion. Cargo import figures do not correlate directly with sales because they count only the number of cargo containers, not the value of the merchandise inside them, but are an indicator of retailers’ sales expectations.

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SUPPLY CHAIN

Report: Amazon deploys robots in DCs

BY Dan Berthiaume

Seattle – Amazon.com is reportedly using robots from Kiva Systems at three distribution centers. According to the Wall Street Journal, the robots bring merchandise from shelves to warehouse workers and can potentially reduce the cost of filling an order by 20% to 40%, for an annual savings of more than $900 million.

Amazon purchased Kiva for $775 million in March 2012 and according to a recent financial disclosure now has 1,400 Kiva robots in service helping fulfill orders. The retailer declined to comment on the project.

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Newegg Marketplace starts holiday shopping season right

BY CSA STAFF

Newegg, a leading electronics-focused e-retailer in the United States, is leveraging its record-breaking Black November sales for its Marketplace Division to drive additional sales this holiday season.

Newegg Marketplace reported sales of 109% year-over-year, making this the second consecutive year of triple-digit growth.

Newegg has also added Cooking.com, eBags.com, Griffin Technology, Overstock.com, Samy’s Camera, Toys "R" Us and Babies "R" Us to its Marketplace this year.

"Our new Marketplace partners greatly strengthen our leadership in e-commerce," said Soren Mills, chief marketing officer of Newegg North America. "The companies we align with today mirror our commitment to unparalleled value and customer service. We are delighted to work with them."

Newegg launched its Marketplace in 2010 to extend beyond technology and satisfy customer demand for broader product selection. The new brand relationships expand the Marketplace with key product additions in apparel, housewares, toys and games as well as other general merchandise items.

The website has more than 18 million registered users and offers customers a comprehensive selection of the latest consumer electronics products, detailed product descriptions and images, as well as how-to information and customer reviews. Using the site’s online tech community, customers have the opportunity to interact with other computer, gaming and consumer electronics enthusiasts.

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