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Retail import growth to slow this summer, trade group says

May 14, 2013|By Ricardo Lopez
  • Retail import volume is expected to slow by the end of the summer, according to a monthly report released Tuesday by the National Retail Federation. Above, a tugboat pulls a container ship into the Port of Long Beach.
Retail import volume is expected to slow by the end of the summer, according… (Tim Rue/Bloomberg )

Growth of import volume at the country’s seaports is expected to slow to a standstill by the end of the summer, according to a national retail group’s Global Port Tracker report released Tuesday.

Import volume for May is expected to grow 3.3% over the same month last year, but continued growth seems unlikely, according to the National Retail Federation.

The retail group’s monthly report said retailers are still cautious about overstocking their inventories even as the economy gradually improves.

“August and September are expected to be basically flat even though they’re supposed to be two of the busiest months of the years,” said Jonathan Gold, vice president for supply chain and customs policy at the retail group.

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The group added that though cargo import numbers are expected to be weak later this summer, it may not have an impact on retail sales or employment because the report only counts the number of containers – not the value of merchandise imported.

May’s container traffic is projected to rise to 1.42 million twenty-foot equivalent containers – a 3.3% increase over the same month last year. June and July import volumes are expected to rise 1.4% over the same period last year to about 1.4 million containers respectively.

Import growth for August and September, however, is expected to be flat, according to the report.

The first six months of 2013 are expected to total 7.8 million containers, up 2% from the first half of 2012.  


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