Report: Port strike would threaten spring retail sales
New York City — A Wednesday report by MarketWatch said that a potential strike by nearly 15,000 dock workers at 14 ports from Boston to Houston beginning on Sunday may derail retailers’ spring selling as well.
National Retail Federation supply chain and custom policy issues head Jonathan Gold told MarketWatch that, even though a federal mediator has called for a meeting of the International Longshoremen’s Association and the U.S. Maritime Alliance ahead of the Dec. 29 contract expiration, it’s not clear when and where the two parties would do that in the next few days.
According to Gold, the two parties are in disagreement over container royalties, or the supplemental payments made to the workers based on the weight of containers that come through the ports.
The 14 ports along the East Coast and Gulf Coast handle about 6.5 million import containers annually, or 40% of imports to the U.S. The Port of New York and New Jersey is the largest port on the East Coast and the second largest in the country after the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach combined, where an eight-day strike ended earlier this month.
An East Coast strike “would have a significant impact on everybody through the supply chain,” Gold said.
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Murphy Oil announces deal with Wal-Mart for 200 fuel stations
El Dorado, Ark. — Murphy Oil USA announced Wednesday it has entered into an agreement with Wal-Mart Stores Inc. for 200 new fuel stations in the midwestern and southeastern U.S.
According to the agreement, Murphy Oil will build more than 200 new fuel stations at existing Wal-Mart Super Centers over the next three years.
Steven Cosse, president and CEO, Murphy Oil Corp., said the agreement with Wal-Mart is a significant step forward for the pair’s long-term relationship.
Online sales up 15.2% for the season
New York — Research results released Wednesday by Chase found that online holiday shopping sales for the season rose 15.2% year-over-year.
By event, the Chase Holiday Pulse reported that from Black Friday Nov. 23 through Friday, Nov. 30, year-over-year sales increased 22.5% and transactions increased 32.7%.
Green Monday kicked off the busiest week of the season: In terms of total transaction volume, Pulse showed that the period from Dec 10th (Green Monday) to Sunday, Dec 16th was the busiest seven-day period of the holiday shopping season, with year-over-year transaction up 16.6%.
In 2012, the ‘showrooming’ phenomenon went mainstream, as the survey showed that consumers used their mobile devices to research items they saw in-store, but then purchased online.
Heavy promotional activity from merchants during the holiday season was especially evident this year, with merchants attracting more online shoppers with email, online coupons, and discounts. To illustrate this, Pulse data for the weekend between Black Friday and Cyber Monday reflected an average sales growth of 38.3% year-over-year.
Average Ticket Price continued to trend downward with year-to-date overall season results down 7.3% driven in part by additional free shipping offers from merchants and continued customer demand for low-ticket digital content.
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