Subscribe to our free, weekly email newsletter!


May retail sales show flat growth, say Commerce and NRF

By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
June 14, 2011

As mounting evidence indicates that slow economic growth is prevalent, retail sales numbers released today were essentially flat in May compared to April and were up on an annual basis, according to data from the United States Department of Commerce and the National Retail Federation (NRF).

May retail sales, which include non-general merchandise like automobiles, gasoline, and restaurants, were $387.1 billion for a 0.2 percent decrease from April and a 7.7 percent increase compared to May 2010, according to Commerce data. Commerce said that total retail sales from March through May were up 7.5 percent annually.

May also represents the 11th straight month of increased annual retail sales.

The NRF reported that May retail sales, which exclude automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants, were up 0.1 percent from April on a seasonally-adjusted basis and up 5.0 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

“After a string of disappointing government reports relating to first quarter growth and employment, May’s retail report supports the idea of the economy hitting a soft patch,” said NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz in a statement. “Though consumers are spending cautiously, we are not seeing them cut out new purchases completely, signaling there is a distinct appetite to spend if economic conditions let them.”

In tune with flat retail sales is an ostensible stalling in freight growth to a certain degree as evidenced by recent reports from the American Trucking Associations and Cass Information Systems. Recent reports from both concerns show that freight growth is in a holding pattern brought on my high fuel prices, a crippled housing market, and lack of meaningful job growth, among other factors.

And with a recent lull in fuel prices there still remains a distinct possibility that retail sales will remain at current levels in the coming months. Freight volumes, specifically on the trucking side, are displaying volumes that are still well below pre-recession levels. But shippers and carriers maintain that retail-related tonnage will continue to display growth in the coming months but remain largely unsure to what degree.

A less-than-truckload executive said in an interview that factors like sluggish consumer confidence levels, sluggish GDP projections and high unemployment are making the case for flat retail growth overall.

“Business levels for retail sales are softer than originally anticipated,” he said. “Looking at the second half of the year there is a bit of concern that the economy will not be as robust as initially thought.”

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

UPS today announced diluted earnings per share of $1.32 for the third quarter 2014, a 13.8% improvement over the prior year period. Operating profit increased 8.3%, resulting from balanced growth across all three segments.

The Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported this week that U.S. trade with its North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners Canada and Mexico increased 4.4 percent from August 2013 to August 2014 at $100.6 billion.

As expected, global trade dipped from August to September but still saw annual gains, according to data issued this week by Panjiva, an online search engine with detailed information on global suppliers and manufacturers.

Transportation and logistics merger and acquisition (M&A) activity in the third quarter saw annual gains, which were driven by smaller deals in the trucking logistics, shipping, and passenger air sectors, according to data issued in the Intersections report by PwC this week.

With the holidays rapidly approaching, it appears retailers are not quite done getting inventory set up and on the shelves in time for what is expected to be a fairly active shopping season. That much was evident based on recent data for September volumes issued by the Port of Los Angeles (POLA) and the Port of Long Beach (POLB).

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