Subscribe to our free, weekly email newsletter!



Encouraging but cautious signs with December retail numbers

By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
January 06, 2011

While I endeavor to be an optimist when it comes to the economy, it is hard for me not to scratch my head when looking at reports about what is actually happening.

This line of thinking stems from perusing some items on December retail sales. When looking at these items, I needed to remind myself that the numbers for same store sales for December were all very consistent, regardless of the source.

The International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) reported that December same store sales, excluding Wal-mart, were up 3.1 percent. And a Thomson Reuters survey of 28 retailers also reported a 3.1 percent gain in December.

That sounds about right, given the talk about increased consumer confidence and six months of increased retail sales, according to the National Retail Federation and the U.S. Department of Commerce.

But here is where things get a little blurry.

A New York Times report noted that the Thomson Reuters numbers missed expectations, with analysts calling for a 3.4 percent December hike, which was “buoyed by reports of rising foot traffic, online spending and early holiday sales.” But the report did state that the overall holiday season was still relatively strong, especially when taking November’s 6 percent hike into consideration.

Another interesting data point from the ICSC is that for the November-December holiday period same store sales were up 3.8 percent annually for the largest holiday increase since 2006.

Meanwhile, the AP is reporting that the momentum shoppers had during the holiday season is likely to continue. This is where things get a little confusing.

Make no mistake, the holiday retail performance was solid, especially when compared to 2009. But last I checked, unemployment is still too high and gas seems to be getting more expensive every time I go to the pump.

That said, I am personally a little skeptical about what is going to happen this year. While there are some positive signs, there are an equal amount of warning signs, it seems.

But here is the thing: the signs of optimism are coming from sources and people that are far more knowledgeable on this than yours truly.

Look no further than Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics. Zandi told the AP that consumer spending will rise 3.6 percent in 2011—or double 2010’s growth rate. And this pace would put the economy on a 4 percent trajectory, up from Zandi’s 2010 2.8 percent estimate.

Wait, there is more.

Zandi said that this stronger growth should lead to companies adding 2.9 million jobs this year, up from the 1.1 million jobs projected for 2010, dropping the unemployment rate to 9 percent for 2011 and down from 2010’s 9.5 percent.

OK—now I am coming around to the optimistic side of the fence. If these numbers come in at anything close to this, it means good news for all of us.

For carriers it means more volumes and for shippers it might translate into some rate relief early in this New Year. But anyway you look at it, one should hopefully be cautiously optimistic about where these numbers are heading.

Things can change in a hurry, but I am going to do my best to stay on the positivity train while it is still rolling.

About the Author

Jeff Berman headshot
Jeff Berman
Group News Editor

Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


Subscribe to Logistics Management magazine

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your
entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Recent Entries

A number of key topics impacting the freight transportation and logistics marketplace were front and center at a panel at the Council of Supply Chain Management Annual Conference in San Antonio last week.

The relationships between third-party logistics (3PL) service providers and shippers are seeing ongoing developments due in large part to the continuing emergence and sophistication of omni-channel retailing. That was one of the key findings of The 19th Annual Third-Party Logistics Study, which was released by consultancy Capgemini Group, Penn State University, and Korn/Ferry International, a global talent advisory firm.

Optimism in the form of increasing profits was a key takeaway in the Annual Survey of Third-Party Logistics (3PL) CEOs, released earlier this week at the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) Annual Conference in San Antonio.

Seasonally-adjusted (SA) for-hire truck tonnage in August saw a 1.6 percent increase in August on the heels of a 1.5 percent increase in July. The August SA index––at 132.6 (2000=100)––stands as a new SA high, with November 2013’s 131.0 now the second best month recorded.

Carload volumes saw a 5 percent jump compared to the same week a year ago at 302,178, and intermodal volumes hit a new weekly U.S. record at 279,777 trailers and containers.

Article Topics

Blogs · Retail · ICSC · Mark Zandi · Moody's Analytics · All topics

Comments

Post a comment
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.


© Copyright 2013 Peerless Media LLC, a division of EH Publishing, Inc • 111 Speen Street, Ste 200, Framingham, MA 01701 USA