Subscribe to our free, weekly email newsletter!


Logistics business: June retail sales down slightly, according to Commerce and NRF

image
By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
July 14, 2010

As was the case in May, retail sales were down slightly in June but were up year-over-year, according to data released by the United States Department of Commerce and the National Retail Federation.

June retail sales, which include non-general merchandise like automobiles, gasoline, and restaurants, at $360.2 billion, were down 0.5 percent from May and up 4.8 percent year-over-year, and total retail sales from April through June were up 6.8 percent year-over-year, according to the Department of Commerce.

The NRF reported that June retail sales (which exclude automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants) also dipped 0.5 percent seasonally-adjusted compared to May and were up 4.9 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

“Moderate growth these last few months proves that consumer uncertainty remains,” said NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz in a statement. “A slow- growing economy and high unemployment rates will continue to hinder consumers’ decisions to spend on discretionary items.”

Relatively flat growth from May to June does not come as a huge surprise, given other recent economic reports and analyses that suggest the economic green shoots from the first half of 2010 may be subsiding somewhat.

Some of these recent indicators include: continued high levels of unemployment; a drop in the Consumer Confidence Index from 62.7 percent in May to 52.9 percent in June; and a 10 percent dip in May housing starts, among others.

Despite these signs, freight transportation volumes remain solid overall, especially when compared to a challenging 2009. One driver for this is due to manufacturers and retailers slowly building up inventories after deliberately keeping them low for months to better match up with low demand levels during the recession.

“We are still fairly positive about things in general in terms of the recovery happening, but there will be fits and starts,” said Eric Starks, president of freight transportation forecast consultancy FTR Associates. “That is what we are seeing now.”

A “wait and see” approach to the economy is going to be required over the coming months, said Starks, with a better idea of where things likely stand possible in September. Whether the recent downward indicators are truly an indication of things to come—or lead to a double-dip recession of some sort—is still to be determined, he said.

And things like a fluctuating stock market, coupled with economic unrest in Europe, do little to help with overall economic confidence as well, noted Starks.

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

Seasonally-adjusted (SA) for-hire truck tonnage in July headed up 1.3 percent on the heels of a 0.8 percent increase in June. The ATA’s not seasonally-adjusted (NSA) index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by fleets before any seasonal adjustment, was 133.3 in July, which outpaced June’s 132.3 by 0.8 percent, and was up 2.8 percent annually.

Volumes for the month of July at the Port of Long Beach (POLB) and the Port of Los Angeles (POLA) were mixed, according to data recently issued by the ports. Unlike May and June, which saw higher than usual seasonal volumes, due to the West Coast port labor situation, July was down as retailers had completed filling inventories for back-to-school shopping.

With a 0.8 cent decrease, this week’s average price per gallon is $3.835 and stands as the lowest price since hitting $3.844 the week of November 25, 2013.

LTL carriers are rapidly investing in expensive, on-dock, three-dimensional size measurement capturing machinery, and they are hoping one day of being able to more accurately charge shippers rates based on the actual dimensions of their shipments, rather than the traditional weight-and-distance-based formula that has been in effect since the 1930s or even earlier.

The Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) recently reported that its Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) dipped 0.9 percent from May to June.

Article Topics

News · 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