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Report: Retail container traffic to rise 2.6% in October

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Washington, D.C. — A report released Tuesday by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates said that import cargo volume at the nation’s major retail container ports is expected to increase 2.6% in October over the same month last year and should reach its highest level of the year as retailers stock up for the holiday season.

“After a summer of trying to compare apples to oranges, retail cargo is back to normal,” NRF VP for supply chain and customs policy Jonathan Gold said. “October is the historic peak of the shipping cycle each year, and retailers are bringing merchandise into the country on their usual schedule and at normal levels again instead of being forced to move cargo early. Retailers are poised to succeed in maintaining the careful balance between inventory and sales that keeps customers happy while keeping retailers profitable.”

U.S. ports followed by Global Port Tracker handled 1.32 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units in August, the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available. That was the same as July, but down 7% from August 2010. One TEU is one 20-ft. cargo container or its equivalent.

The August figures followed year-over-year declines of 5% in June and 4% in July, but the statistics were skewed because of higher-than-normal numbers in 2010 when fears of shortages in shipping capacity caused many retailers to bring holiday merchandise into the country earlier than usual. Global Port Tracker counts only the number of cargo containers imported, not the value of their contents, so cargo volume does not directly correlate with retail sales.

Year-over-year cargo growth resumed but was weak in September, which was estimated at 1.37 million TEU, up 2.7% from last year. October is forecast at 1.39 million TEU, up 2.6% from last year, and is expected to regain its historical position as the busiest month of the year after last year’s usual patterns shifted the peak to August. November is forecast at 1.28 million TEU, up 4%, and December is forecast at 1.18 million TEU, up 2.7%. January 2012 is forecast at 1.16 million TEU, down 3.6% from January 2011, and February, traditionally the slowest month of the year, is forecast at 1.1 million TEU, down 3.8%.

The total for 2011 is forecast at 15 million TEU, up 1.8% from 2010. Imports during 2010 totaled 14.7 million TEU, a 16% increase over unusually low numbers in 2009.

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Oracle to acquire Endeca Technologies

BY Staff Writer

Redwood Shores, Calif. — Oracle announced it has entered into an agreement to acquire Endeca Technologies, Cambridge, Mass., which provides an unstructured data management, web commerce and business intelligence technologies.

Oracle said that the combination of Oracle ATG Commerce and Endeca InFront “is expected to enhance cross-channel commerce, merchandising, and online customer experiences,” which Oracle Business Intelligence and Endeca Latitude will provide a business intelligence foundation using structured and unstructured data sources.

“The combination of Oracle and Endeca is extremely compelling in this changing data environment,” said Thomas Kurian, executive VP, Oracle Development. “Together, we will provide best-in-class technology to manage structured and unstructured data together; business intelligence tools to analyze structured and unstructured data together; and a broad suite of packaged applications which extends the value of unstructured data into ERP, supply chain, CRM, EPM, web commerce, and specialized applications. This technology will also allow us to integrate more comprehensive unstructured data management into Oracle’s engineered systems.”

Oracle did not disclose financial terms of the deal.

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Sleepy’s and RedPrairie extend supply chain platform

BY Staff Writer

Atlanta — Global supply chain solution provider RedPrairie Corp. said Tuesday that Sleepy’s, The Mattress Professionals has signed an agreement to use RedPrairie Warehouse Management, Workforce Management, Transportation Management and Fleet Management solutions for its distribution centers and delivery fleet of almost 400 vehicles.

Mattress retailer Sleepy’s has worked with RedPrairie since 2002. The company is updating and expanding its use of RedPrairie WMS and WFM in seven distribution centers with almost 600 employees. It will also start using RedPrairie’s TMS and Fleet Management to better serve its customers, especially during the retailer’s peak weekend and post-weekend delivery periods.

“As Sleepy’s continues to expand into new geographic markets and across the Web, we remain focused on providing unparalleled customer service,” said Don Rowley, executive VP and CIO at Sleepy’s. “RedPrairie’s integrated enterprise solutions will help us to meet customer demands across our entire supply chain ecosystem, from sourcing all the way through to customer delivery.”

Sleepy’s plans to integrate RedPrairie’s WMS, WFM, TMS and Fleet Management to provide visibility into anticipated inventory, labor and delivery service levels throughout the supply chain. This will help Sleepy’s to better manage its inventory and distribution center workforce levels, and make its fleet management system more agile to rapidly meet changing customer delivery requirements. Sleepy’s will also use RedPrairie’s TMS and WMS to manage parcel deliveries of Web orders for its bedding, pillows and fabrics.

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