SUPPLY CHAIN

Retail imports cargo moving despite government shutdown concerns

BY Marianne Wilson

Washington, D.C. — Despite concerns over the government shutdown, import volume at the nation’s major retail container ports is expected to grow 9.1% in October over the same month last year, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released Monday by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates. The numbers reflect merchandise ordered months before the shutdown as retailers planned for the holiday season.


“With the holidays nearly here, retailers are making sure their shelves are well-stocked,” NRF VP for supply chain and customs policy Jonathan Gold said. “Cargo is continuing to move through the ports but the government shutdown has left some agencies short-handed, so NRF will monitor the situation closely as the holidays approach.”


U.S. Customs and Border Protection has furloughed 6,000 workers because of the government shutdown that began last week, but Acting Commissioner Thomas Winkowski said the impact at the docks should be “minimal” since ports will remain open, with inspectors continuing to work and process cargo. But other government agencies that have a role in clearing cargo at the ports have not remained as staffed as CBP, leaving retailers cautious.


Cargo import numbers do not correlate directly with sales because they count only the number of cargo containers, not the value of the merchandise inside them. August, September and October are the months when most of the holiday season’s merchandise is brought into the country. The 4.42 million cargo containers expected for those months combined is a 5.9% increase over last year and accounts for 25.6% of all retail imports for the entire year.

Despite the current increases, container traffic growth overall has been slow this year, and the reduced demand for shipping capacity has ocean carriers cutting the number of vessels on the water and taking other steps, Hackett Associates founder Ben Hackett said.

“The supply-and-demand balance dictates pricing,” Hackett said. “This has left the carriers to find ways to cut costs as a means to better financial results. Using larger ships is one solution, and larger alliances as a means to managing capacity is another.”

Global Port Tracker, which is produced for NRF by the consulting firm Hackett Associates, covers the U.S. ports of Los Angeles/Long Beach, Oakland, Seattle and Tacoma on the West Coast; New York/New Jersey, Hampton Roads, Charleston, Savannah, Port Everglades and Miami on the East Coast, and Houston on the Gulf Coast.

"Juicy Couture is a leading lifestyle brand that is recognized worldwide," said Authentic CEO Jamie Salter, noting that he is excited to realize the brand’s global potential, in a statement. His company has been snapping up labels in recent years, purchasing menswear brands Hickey Freeman and Hart Schaffner Marx out of bankruptcy last year, for example.

As part of the transition, Fifth & Pacific has entered into a short-term licensing agreement through the first half of next year, which includes a $10 million minimum royalty payment for Authentic.

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SUPPLY CHAIN

Walmart supplier Redman & Associates to set up manufacturing facility in Arkansas

BY Staff Writer

Rogers, Ark. — Walmart and Redman & Associates, a manufacturer of ride-on toys, announced that Redman will open a new manufacturing and distribution facility in Rogers, Ark., that will six-volt battery-powered ride-on toys featuring characters from popular Disney and Marvel franchises.

Mel Redman, CEO and founder of Redman & Associates, is a retired Walmart executive. According to the Associated Press, his company was spending $7 million annually on ocean shipping before any of his merchandise reached the West Coast and then needed to be transported throughout the country. Redman said by the end of 2016, all 600,000 vehicles now made in China would be built and shipped from Rogers, according to the report.

"We are extremely proud to be able to manufacture right here in Arkansas," said Mel Redman, founder & CEO of Redman & Associates "This agreement was completed through working collaboratively with the state and Walmart and was accelerated following Walmart’s U.S. manufacturing summit in August. We look forward to starting production and creating good-paying positions with average hourly wage of $18."

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OPERATIONS

Epicor Software names new CEO

BY Staff Writer

Dublin, Calif. — Epicor Software Corporation, a global leader in business software solutions, announced that Joseph (Joe) L. Cowan has been appointed president and CEO. Cowan, who brings extensive executive management experience in software and technology to Epicor, succeeds Pervez Qureshi, who is stepping down to pursue new opportunities. Qureshi will also be stepping down from his position as a director on the Epicor board of directors.

Along with his appointment as president and CEO, Cowan will be appointed as a member of the Epicor board of directors.

“Joe is a proven executive and strong leader who is highly respected within the technology industry,” said Jason Wright, a member of the board of directors of Epicor. He possesses outstanding strategic vision and exceptional commercial and operational skills having led a number of major software companies to new levels of growth and profitability.”

Most recently, Cowan served as President and CEO of Online Resources, a provider of online banking and full-service payment solutions, until its acquisition by ACI Worldwide in March 2013.

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