SUPPLY CHAIN

Retail imports to increase 5.9% in November despite superstorm

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 5.9% in November despite the temporary closure of some ports by superstorm Sandy.

According to the monthly Global Port Tracker report, U.S. ports followed by Global Port Tracker handled 1.42 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units in September, the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available. That was the same as August but up 3.3% from September 2011. One TEU is one 20-ft. cargo container or its equivalent.



“Sandy certainly caused major problems that are still being cleaned up, but retailers managed to get their cargo into the country and will have plenty of merchandise on store shelves for the holidays,” NRF VP for supply chain and customs policy Jonathan Gold said. “While there was clearly a regional impact, at this point the storm is not expected to have a major effect on holiday sales numbers.”

October was estimated at 1.46 million TEU, up 10.7% from last year, with November forecast at 1.37 million TEU, up 5.9%, and December forecast at 1.34 million TEU, up 9.4%. January is forecast at 1.39 million TEU, up 8.2% from January 2012; February at 1.22 million TEU, up 12%; and March at 1.26 million TEU, up 1.6%.

August, September and October are the three busiest months of the year as retailers bring merchandise into the country for the holiday season, and volume for the three months combined was up 5.8% at 4.3 million TEU. While cargo volume does not correlate directly with sales, NRF is forecasting that holiday sales will increase 4.1% to $586.1 billion this year.

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OPERATIONS

Survey: Some consumers think Black Friday sales start too early

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Whiting, Ind. — Survey results released Wednesday by CouponCabin found that nearly a third (31%) of U.S. consumers feel that holiday shopping is starting too soon, with many stores opening their doors to shoppers Thursday, and in some cases, even Wednesday, night.

Stress is a factor, as many respondents reported that a variety of factors make Black Friday a nerve-wracking holiday. When asked which of the following stressed them out about Black Friday, U.S. adults said the following:

  • The thought of that many people in one store is scary: 34%
  • The item I want might be out of stock before I can purchase it: 28%
  • The competition among other shoppers for deals: – 26%
  • There are so many deals it’s overwhelming: 16%
  • Other: 8%

Even with the possibility of a stressful situation, many will still check out the sales on Black Friday this year. Two-in-five (40%) adults plan to shop either online or in-store this Black Friday. On the flip side, 60% said they aren’t sure or don’t plan to shop on Black Friday. Some shop the sale every year, as 16% said it’s a tradition in their family.

"Even though some people will avoid Black Friday this year, others who embrace it are likely to find huge discounts on a variety of items," said Jackie Warrick, president and CEO at CouponCabin.com. "If you’re one of the shoppers seeking deals this year, make sure to do your research ahead of time, plan your shopping strategy and check out the offers online before you make your buying decisions."

Some shoppers anticipate buying more on Black Friday this year than in years past. In fact, more than one-in-five (21%) of those who plan to shop in stores or online on Black Friday plan to spend more this year than they did last year. Fifty-two percent plan to spend the same amount, while 18% plan to spend less.

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OPERATIONS

Cabela’s selects PTC for lifecycle management

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Needham, Mass. — PTC said Tuesday that Cabela’s has chosen PTC Windchill FlexPLM software, the company’s Product Lifecycle Management solution for retail.

Cabela’s is using PTC PLM solutions to manage the entire lifecycle of its apparel products from conception through design, technical design, sourcing, and manufacturing to commercialization. By integrating business processes, workflow and data, PTC solutions are enabling Cabela’s to increase fill rates and improve margins, thus supporting Cabela’s core strategy of improving merchandising performance.

In selecting PTC solutions, Cabela’s was particularly interested in the proven processes and practices enabled by its out-of-the-box capabilities. Being able to implement a comprehensive retail PLM system in a short period of time has allowed Cabela’s to quickly realize value and reduce product cycle-time from ideation to commercialization.

“We take our brand very seriously at Cabela’s and that is why we partnered with PTC,” said Gabriel Garcia, PLM manager for Cabela’s. “Being able to implement a best practices PLM solution out-of-the-box was crucial for us. By week three with PTC, we were already adding design content and adding much more to our apparel brand line.”

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