FINANCE

Retail Container Traffic Falls

BY CSA STAFF

Washington D.C. Year-over-year cargo volume at the nation’s major retail container ports fell for the 16th consecutive month in November, leaving 2008 on track to be the slowest year since 2004, according to the monthly Port Tracker report released by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and IHS Global Insight.

Volume is projected to total 15.3 million 20-ft. equivalent units (TEU) for the year, compared with 16.5 million TEU in 2007. That would be a decline of 7.1% and the lowest total since 2004, when 14 million TEU moved through the ports. The projection for the year is the same as last month after growing from a 6% drop forecast in September and 6.5% drop forecast in October.

“As retailers face the most challenging holiday season in years, they are being careful with their inventory levels, and that means lower volume at the ports,” NRF VP for supply chain and customs policy Jonathan Gold said. “Cargo volume isn’t a direct correlation with dollar volume of sales, but it’s a good indication of what retailers are thinking.”

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Mattel wins injunction battle against MGA over Bratz licensing

BY CSA STAFF

NEW YORK Last night, U.S. District Judge Stephen Larson granted Mattel’s request for an injunction to stop MGA Entertainment from selling certain Bratz products.

“We believe the jury verdict was clear in denying 99% of Mattel’s copyright infringement claim and that issuing such a broad injunction is inconsistent with the limited jury verdict and the law,” said Isaac Larian, ceo of MGA.  Larian added that “MGA intends to immediately appeal the injunction Mattel was granted.”

While the order does provide that it will be stayed until February 2009 while the Court considers additional legal briefing on post-trial issues, MGA will request that the stay be extended pending resolution of MGA’s appeal.  “We will seek to stay enforcement of this Order until our appeal is resolved so we can maintain the over 1500 people that MGA employs, and continue to give our consumers a product they desire,” Larian stated.  

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Food, consumables drive BJ’s Nov. comps growth

BY CSA STAFF

NATICK, Mass. BJ’S reported that sales for the month of November 2008 increased by 5.2% to $783.2 million from $744.4 million for November 2007. Excluding gasoline sales, merchandise comparable club sales increased by 6.2% versus guidance of 2% to 3%. According to the company, the increase versus guidance was due primarily to stronger sales of food and consumables, particularly during week four.

November sales increased in all regions with the highest increase in Metro New York and the lowest increase in the Southeast region. Comparable-club sales increases were highest in week four and lowest in week three, reflecting a calendar shift in the timing of Thanksgiving.

Departments with the strongest sales increases versus last year included bakery, breakfast foods, computer equipment, dairy, deli, frozen, health & beauty aids, household chemicals, meat, oils, paper products, pet foods, prepared foods, produce, snacks, soda and trash bags. Weaker departments versus last year included apparel, cigarettes, electronics, jewelry, prerecorded video, seasonal, televisions, tires and toys.

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