Optimism among retailers is growing as containerized imports are forecasted to increase 6.3 percent in August and 4.8 percent in the 2012 calendar year over the same periods last year, according to the Global Port Tracker.
“These numbers all show significant increases for the months when retailers will be bringing merchandise into the country for the crucial holiday season, and we’re also expecting an increase for the full year,” said Jonathan Gold, vice president for supply chain and customs policy at the National Retail Federation.
Each month the NRF and Ben Hackett Associates jointly publish a forecast for containerized imports at U.S. ports. The forecasts in the Global Port Tracker have been relatively bullish this year despite weak economic data.
“Indicators are mixed and analysts are getting nervous and expecting the U.S. consumer to retrench and reduce consumption, but we continue to believe that trade will not weaken as much as expected by others,” Hackett said.
June is the latest month for which the Global Port Tracker has complete numbers, and imports were 10.7 percent higher than in June 2011. July is projected to be up 2.6 percent from last year.
Imports are expected to accelerate into the fall, with September projected to show an increase of 7.3 percent and October an increase of 13.2 percent over the same months last year.
Imports will then slow down, with both November and December expected to show an increase of 2.4 percent over the same months last year.
Although unemployment remains high and consumer confidence is lagging, retailers expect that consumers will spend more freely this year during the holiday shopping season.
“Retailers are clearly stocking up and hoping for a stronger fall and winter than they saw last year,” Gold said.
Contact Bill Mongelluzzo at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @billmongelluzzo.