Three reasons why US tackle retailers and consumers can be optimistic
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Imports reached new highs in the US this summer and may have broken records as the country’s economy continues to reopen and retailers replenish their shelves.
Much of the evidence for the recovery comes in the monthly Global Port Tracker report released this week by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Hackett Associates, consultants to the maritime industry.
And though the data relates to July, the latest month for which figures are available, the good news is that August and September are also showing signs of being up on last year.
The report provides information on figures across a broad industry spectrum, but the fact that the recreational fishing sector has been ahead of the curve because of its natural compliance to COVID guidelines, looks to favour a trade seeking to catch up after a dire early spring.
Reasons behind the optimism include:
• Imports are helping rebuild inventories that have run low after consumer demand surged when stores reopened.
• Retailers are stocking up for the holiday season, when gift purchases reach an annual high and holiday time is likely to boost demand still further.
• Consumers continue to be denied access to other sports and pastimes, a situation that seems unlikely to change as the pandemic spikes unexpectedly in various parts of the US.
“Retailers are importing far more merchandising for the holidays than we expected even a month ago,” said Jonathan Gold, NFR Vice President for supply chain and customs policy.
“Some of these imports are helping replenish inventories that started to run low after consumers unleashed pent-up demand when stores re-opened. But this is the clearest sign yet that we could be in for a much happier holiday season than many had thought.”
Although US ports covered by Global Port Tracker recorded a 2.3% drop year-on-year in the number of TEU’s (cargo containers) during July, that was up 19.3% from June and much higher than forecast.
August is estimated at 6% up, which would be an all-time high, and September at 1.89 million, another increase of over 1%
However, Hackett Associates founder, Ben Hackett, warned that not everywhere in the world would fare as well. “Data from around the world is a mix, with a weak recovery in Europe as it struggles with rising COVID-19 numbers. China’s exports remain solid, but will this last? A lot of uncertainty is in play.”