Subscribe to our free, weekly email newsletter!


NRF and Commerce report lackluster March retail sales numbers

By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
April 12, 2013

Coming off a better than expected month in February, retail sales were somewhat lackluster in March, according to data released today by the United States Department of Commerce and the National Retail Federation (NRF).

Commerce reported that March retail sales at $418.3 billion were down 0.4 percent compared to February and up 2.8 percent compared to March 2012. Total sales for the January through March period were up 3.7 percent annually.

The NRF reported that March retail sales, which exclude autos, gas stations, and restaurants, fell 0.2 percent on a seasonally-adjusted basis from February and were up 1.6 percent on an unadjusted basis annually. NRF officials said that these numbers portend cautious consumer spending, coupled with the aftereffect of the payroll tax hike from the Fiscal Cliff negotiations and colder weather.

“The fall off in spending is no surprise,” said NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz in a statement “A colder-than-usual winter, an anemic employment picture and delays in tax refunds impacted consumer spending across the board in March. While we remain optimistic that retail sales will grow modestly this year, it seems like the economy is off to a shaky start as we enter the second quarter. Improving housing prices and lower gas prices may help to offset the toll of increased taxes and sequester.”

As LM has reported, with retail sales growth modest at best, there still remains a mixed bag of signals and headwinds on the economic front, including a slightly declining unemployment rate, improving consumer confidence data, as well as encouraging automotive sales and housing data.

These things are occurring, though, against the backdrop of sluggish GDP growth and general uncertainty regarding the economy.

The continuing trend of slight or flattish sequential retail sales increases remains largely intact due to fairly even retail spending at a time when retailers remain cautious on the inventory planning side and postponing commitments until the until the economic outlook becomes clearer, while they are risking stock outages by having very lean inventories.

“The first quarter was not very kind to retailers,” wrote IHS Global Insight Director of Consumer Economics Chris G. Christopher, Jr. in a research note. “January was weak, February was a mixed bag with discretionary spending taking a hit and discretionary spending surging, and March was bad. There are some positives on the consumer front such as falling pump prices, a strong stock market, the housing market is gaining some traction, and overall inflation is very modest.”

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 March was up 1.1 percent on the heels of a revised 2.8 percent (from 3.1 percent) February decline, with the SA index at 133.5 (2000=100). This is off 0.3 percent from the all-time high for the SA of 135.8 from January 2015 and is up 5 percent annually.

Intermodal volume was up 8.1 percent annually at 280,016 containers and trailers. This outpaced the week ending April 11 at 270,463 and the week ending April 4 at 271,127. AAR said this tally marks the second highest weekly output it has ever recorded as well as the first time container and trailer traffic was higher than carloads for a one-week period.

Ocean cargo carrier service reliability across the three core East-West trades hit a five-month peak in March with an aggregate on-time performance of 64 percent, according to Carrier Performance Insight, the online schedule reliability tool provided by Drewry Supply Chain Advisors.

The Airforwarders Association, which represents more than 360 companies that move air cargo through the supply chain, today applauded an agreement reached by Congressional leaders to advance legislation giving the President authority to conclude key global trade agreements.

Despite great opportunity for growth, the logistics market in Latin America is lagging behind other emerging markets thanks in part to its notoriety for corruption, violence, poor infrastructure and government bureaucracy.

Comments

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


© Copyright 2015 Peerless Media LLC, a division of EH Publishing, Inc • 111 Speen Street, Ste 200, Framingham, MA 01701 USA