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NRF: Tariff ‘wild card’ threaten retail imports

BY Marianne Wilson

The threat of escalating tariffs is putting a damper on the otherwise healthy retail marketplace and has caused retailers to up their import orders.

Imports at the nation’s major retail container ports are expected to remain strong this month after setting three new records this summer, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.

“More tariffs could come any day, and retailers have been bringing in record amounts of merchandise ahead of that in order to mitigate the impact on their customers,” said NRF VP for supply chain and customs policy Jonathan Gold said. “Retail sales are growing stronger than expected this year thanks to tax cuts and job creation, but tariffs are the wild card that threaten to throw away a significant portion of those benefits.”

The current boom in shipping can primarily be explained by importers’ response to the U.S. trade war with China, according to Hackett Associates founder Ben Hackett.

“Consumers appear to be spending money on goods ahead of the tariff price increases that will eventually come,” he said. “But there could be a rocky road ahead as the impact of tariffs begins to be more fully felt.”

Ports covered by Global Port Tracker handled 1.9 million twenty-foot equivalent units (a TEU is one 20-ft.-long cargo container or its equivalent).

In July, the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available. That was up 2.8% from June and up 5.6% year-over-year.
August was estimated at 1.92 million TEU, up 4.8% year-over-year. September is forecast at 1.83 million TEU, up 2.4%; October at 1.88 million, up 5%; November at 1.79 million TEU, up 1.7%, and December also at 1.79 million TEU, up 3.6%.

August was the third month in a row to set a new record for the number of containers imported during a single month, following July’s 1.9 million TEU and June’s 1.85 million TEU. The previous record of 1.83 million TEU was set in August 2017.

The first half of 2018 totaled 10.3 million TEU, an increase of 5.1% over the first half of 2017. The total for 2018 is expected to reach 21.4 million TEU, an increase of 4.4% over last year’s record 20.5 million TEU.

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, Port of Virginia, Charleston, Savannah, Port Everglades, Miami and Jacksonville on the East Coast, and Houston on the Gulf Coast.

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C-store tailors store-level assortments with customized planograms

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

The parent company of convenience store brands such as Red’s, Two Chicks, and Luigi’s Pizzas & Subs, is offering customer-centric assortments across all of its stores.

GPM Investments, which operates more than 1,200 company-operated convenience stores across the Mid-Atlantic, Midwestern, Northeastern and Southeastern United States, is partnering with JDA Software to create planograms for specific store formats and brands. By analyzing customer needs, GPM can now customize planograms for each store and style of fixture.

Using a range of JDA Category Management solutions, the company creates localized, actionable shelf plans that are specific to each store, and customized to customer needs based on store sales and trending information. With JDA, GPM no longer relies on vendors to provide the planograms for their products and stores. Instead, the company now creates, maintains and supports multiple versions for each location.

Within 14 weeks, GPM has quadrupled the number of planograms that it can support. The company also has the flexibility to create and maintain store-specific planograms, and can publish the plans with increased speed and accuracy.

“GPM Investments is off to a very strong start with a quick implementation that will give them the visibility they need into shopper habits and buying trends to create the right mix of shelf and floor plans that exceed their customers’ expectations,” said Terry Turner, president, North American retail, JDA.

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How mobile workforce tools are a huge win for both management and staff

BY Shyft Technologies

Earlier this year Shyft Technologies Inc. completed an implementation of our software with a global retailer’s 100,000+ user workforce. Our newly available Retail Case Study shares the findings from our initial pilot POC.

Download Shyft’s Retail Case Study here!

In this report, we reveal valuable insights regarding worker scheduling, flexibility needs and coverage patterns. Our data shows how empowering workers with mobile schedule-management tools drives conversion, increases morale and can save millions in labor costs.

How shift swapping occurred prior to Shyft

Our findings show that stores were still using antiquated methods to swap shifts and manage their schedules; 35% used text messages and 34% used Facebook groups.  11% still used Post-It Notes!

With employee adoption of Shyft, users called out notable time-savings. 30% of managers reported that Shyft was saving them 4 or more hours a week.

30% of managers reported that Shyft was saving them 4 or more hours a week.

This time saved away from scheduling headaches allows managers to be on the floor, selling products and resolving customer service issues. This is a far better use of a manager’s time versus scrolling through employee phone lists looking for shift coverage.

In addition to managing the scheduling complexities for frontline workers, Shyft’s record keeping and data processing abilities have also proven to be valuable. With nationwide trends in the introduction of new scheduling compliance legislation, the need for this type of electronic record keeping is only expected to grow.

Allowing for flexibility is essential to creating an engaged and empowered workforce. Our study shows that 48% of employees know within a window of 2 days or less that they need a shift covered.  Without a mobile management tool, the likelihood of that employee finding last-minute coverage decreases, while the likelihood that they would have to call out goes up.

Advanced notice for shift swapping

It is worth calling out that in addition to time-savings, Shyft boosts morale and employee retention. 71% of respondents stated that they feel Shyft has helped in decreasing employee turnover at their location.

Most importantly, an average of 95% of our users reported they would recommend Shyft to friends looking to get a shift covered.

Download our Retail Case Study here.

We are excited to share our experience with you and look forward to your feedback!

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