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Welcome to a new week. Many retail industry leaders are starting the week heading to Palm Springs for eTail West. Meanwhile, a group of retailers and DTC brands will offer more data and insight on holiday results for 2022 in earnings reports.
Here’s what The Current will be watching in this week in commerce:
eTail West: The retail conference in Palm Springs features stories, strategies, strategic conversations and networking. Keynotes will provide insight from leaders at Kohl's, e.l.f. Cosmetics, Walmart, Nordstrom and more. (Feb. 27-March 3)
Durable Goods Orders: The U.S. Commerce Department releases data for January on the volume of manufacturer orders for goods that are designed to last more than three years. This is an upstream indicator of demand in the economy. (Feb. 27, 8:30 a.m.)
Retail inventories: The U.S. Commerce Department releases data for January on the amount of goods that were held in inventory by retailers. This number has been closely watched as many retailers faced a glut of inventory in 2022 as a result of supply chain disruptions. Feb. 28, 8:30 a.m.)
Consumer Confidence: The Conference Board releases data on consumer buying moods and expectations for the economy. (Feb. 28, 10 a.m.)
Monday, Feb. 27: Hims & Hers
Tuesday, Feb. 28: Figs, Warby Parker, Target
Wednesday, March 1: American Eagle Outfitters, Abercrombie & Fitch, Kohl’s, Lowe’s, Qurate Retail, SmileDirectClub.
Thursday, March 2: Hormel Foods, Utz, Best Buy, Victoria’s Secret.
Trending in Economy
Labor disputes on the West Coast could cause further disruption heading into peak season.
When the first half of 2023 is complete, imports are expected to dip 22% below last year.
That’s according to new data from the Global Port Tracker, which is compiled monthly by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.
The decline has been building over the entire year, as imports dipped in the winter. With the spring, volume started to rebound. In April, the major ports handled 1.78 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units. That was an increase of 9.6% from March. Still it was a decline of 21.3% year over year – reflecting the record cargo hauled in over the spike in consumer demand of 2021 and the inventory glut 2022.
In 2023, consumer spending is remaining resilient with in a strong job market, despite the collision of inflation and interest rates. The economy remains different from pre-pandemic days, but shipping volumes are beginning to once again resemble the time before COVID-19.
“Economists and shipping lines increasingly wonder why the decline in container import demand is so much at odds with continuous growth in consumer demand,” said Hackett Associates Founder Ben Hackett, in a statement. “Import container shipments have returned the pre-pandemic levels seen in 2019 and appear likely to stay there for a while.”
Retailers and logistics professionals alike are looking to the second half of the year for a potential upswing. Peak shipping season occurs in the summer, which is in preparation for peak shopping season over the holidays.
Yet disruption could occur on the West Coast if labor issues can’t be settled. This week, ports from Los Angeles to Seattle reported closures and slowdowns as ongoing union disputes boil over, CNBC reported. NRF called on the Biden administration to intervene.
“Cargo volume is lower than last year but retailers are entering the busiest shipping season of the year bringing in holiday merchandise. The last thing retailers and other shippers need is ongoing disruption at the ports,” aid NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said. “If labor and management can’t reach agreement and operate smoothly and efficiently, retailers will have no choice but to continue to take their cargo to East Coast and Gulf Coast gateways. We continue to urge the administration to step in and help the parties reach an agreement and end the disruptions so operations can return to normal. We’ve had enough unavoidable supply chain issues the past two years. This is not the time for one that can be avoided.”