FINANCE

Retail import cargo to rise 6.3% in August

BY Staff Writer

Washington, D.C. — Import cargo volume at the nation’s major retail container ports is expected to increase 6.3% in August, compared with the same month last year, and 2012 should show an increase of 4.8% over last year, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released Monday by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.

“These numbers all show significant increases for the months when retailers will be bringing merchandise into the country for the crucial holiday season, and we’re also expecting an increase for the full year,” NRF VP supply chain and customs policy Jonathan Gold said. “Actual sales will depend on how consumers react to employment levels and other indicators, but retailers are clearly stocking up and hoping for a stronger fall and winter than they saw last year.”

U.S. ports followed by Global Port Tracker handled 1.41 million twenty-foot equivalent units in June, the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available. That was up 4.7% from May and 10.7% from June 2011. One TEU is one 20-ft. cargo container or its equivalent. July was estimated at 1.39 million TEU, up 2.6% from last year.

The first half of 2012 totaled 7.6 million TEU, up 3.8% from the same period last year.

“Indicators are mixed, and analysts are getting nervous and expecting the U.S. consumer to retrench and reduce consumption,” Hackett Associates founder Ben Hackett said. “But we continue to believe that trade will not weaken as much as expected by others.”

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Designer Narciso Rodriguez to serve as advisor to Banana Republic

BY CSA STAFF

NEW YORK — American designer, Narciso Rodriguez, will begin an advisory role on Aug. 20 with Banana Republic in partnership with its EVP design and creative director, Simon Kneen, beginning with the fall 2013 collection. In an effort to build upon the strengths of the brand, Banana Republic has created this advisory role specifically for Rodriguez.

"At Banana Republic, we are committed to delivering modern, stylish work wear to our customers," said Jack Calhoun, president of Banana Republic. "Narciso’s expertise will be a great complement to Simon’s strengths and to our incredible design team."

As an advisor, Rodriguez’s relationship will allow for a top industry talent to contribute to an already strong design and product development team. Rodriguez will add a fresh and unique perspective to further Banana Republic’s stylishly relevant positioning, according to the company.

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TJX posts 24% earnings growth, raises guidance

BY CSA STAFF

FRAMINGHAM, Mass. — TJX reported that net sales for the second quarter of fiscal 2013 increased 9% to $5.9 billion and consolidated comparable-store sales increased 7%. Net income for the second quarter was $421 million and diluted earnings per share were 56 cents, a 24% increase over 45 cents per share last year.

Carol Meyrowitz, CEO, stated, “We are extremely pleased that our strong momentum continued in the second quarter. Our 24% increase in earnings per share and 7% consolidated comparable store sales growth both significantly exceeded our original expectations, with every business posting excellent results. We are raising our full-year guidance to reflect our second quarter earnings per share. In addition, this marks the seventh consecutive year of very strong second quarter operating performance, which we believe demonstrates the sustainability of our sales and profit growth in both strong and weak economies.”

For the third quarter, the company expects diluted earnings per share to be in the range of 56 cents to 59 cents, which represents a 6% to 11% increase over 53 cents per share last year. This outlook is based upon estimated consolidated comparable-store sales growth of 2% to 4%.

For the fiscal year ending Feb. 2, 2013, the company is raising its guidance for diluted earnings per share by 1 cent to reflect its second quarter earnings. The company now expects diluted earnings per share for the full year, on a GAAP basis, to be in the range of $2.39 to $2.45, compared with $1.93 in fiscal 2012.

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