STORES - October 2010 - (Page 8)

CONSIDER THIS / PRESIDENT’S PAGE Encouraging Signs at Ports BY MATT SHAY The Voice of Retail Worldwide STORES is published by NRF Enterprises Inc., a subsidiary of National Retail Federation Inc., 325 7th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20004. (202) 783-7971 FAX (202) 737-2849 ith back-to-school just finished and the holiday season still ahead, it’s a little too soon to say what final retail sales numbers will be for 2010. But one economic indicator is showing this year should turn out at least a little better than 2009. NRF’s Global Port Tracker report predicts 2010 will end up with a 15 percent increase in import cargo volume at the nation’s major retail container ports. That would amount to 14.5 million containers, significantly above last year’s 12.7 million but still well below the peak of 16.5 million seen in 2007 before the recession took its toll. The prediction is in line with double-digit increases in year-over-year cargo volume seen almost every month this year. NRF began Port Tracker several years ago to monitor congestion on the docks and help retailers avoid delays in merchandise deliveries. Since then, it has evolved into a leading indicator watched closely each month by the Federal Reserve, business writers and others seeking an early indication of how much merchandise retailers are importing and, by extension, how much they expect to sell. Those who follow Port Tracker know a 15 percent increase in cargo doesn’t translate into a 15 percent increase in sales by any means: A container of T-shirts counts the same as a container of big-screen TVs. And the number is also high because of easy comparisons to last year’s dismal totals. Nonetheless, it shows conditions are improving as retailers monitor demand and hope to see increases in employment and other areas that will boost consumer confidence. The Port Tracker numbers aren’t the only good news retailers have seen. In January, NRF forecast a 2.5 percent year-over-year increase in retail sales for 2010; since then, month-to-month numbers have fluctuated, but the spring saw year-over-year increases as high as 5 percent, and the past few months have been solidly around 3 percent. We’re still waiting for September retail sales numbers to be released, but August figures indicated that back-to-school shopping far exceeded 2009’s numbers, and NRF’s latest consumer survey shows an increase in Halloween spending as well – not the most important indicator of the year, but one that measures spending that is entirely discretionary. Our holiday forecast will be released this month to fill in the last piece of the puzzle before year’s end. We certainly aren’t back where we were before the recession, and consumers – even though most are financially better off than last year – are still being cautious. 2010 is on track to be significantly better than 2009, but as every retailer knows, the holiday season is the key to the entire year. Retailers are doing their part with promotions and aggressive pricing. The key questions are whether consumers are convinced the recession is over – and are ready to spend accordingly. W CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD Terry J. Lundgren, Chairman, President and CEO, Macy’s, Inc. VICE CHAIRMEN Stephen I. Sadove, Chairman and CEO, Saks Incorporated Kip Tindell, Chairman and CEO, The Container Store PRESIDENT & CEO Matt Shay SENIOR VICE PRESIDENTS Denise Brassé, Industry Relations Mallory B. Duncan, General Counsel Michael G. Gatti, Communications David Hogan, Retail Operations and CIO Carleen C. Kohut, CFO Steven J. Pfister, Government Relations NRF Divisions Association for Retail Technology Standards EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Richard E. Mader (202) 744-8217 National Council of Chain Restaurants PRESIDENT John R. (Jack) Whipple (202) 626-8187 FAX: (202) 626-8185 Retail Advertising & Marketing Association EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Michael G. Gatti (202) 626-8117 FAX: (202) 737-2849 INTERIM EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Joan Broughton (202) 626-8190 325 7th Street, NW Suite 1100 Washington, D.C. 20004 All articles published in this magazine represent solely the individual opinions of the writers, and not necessarily those of the National Retail Federation. 8 STORES / OCTOBER 2010 WWW.STORES.ORG http://WWW.STORES.ORG

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of STORES - October 2010

STORES - October 2010
Editor’s Page
President’s Page
Retail People
Customer Experience
Game Changer
Power Players
NRFtech Recap
Concept 2 Watch
Customized Shopping
Consumer Behavior
Software & Analytics
Crowd Control
Payment Fraud
ARTS Update
Point of View
NRF News
Retail Industry Calendar
End Cap

STORES - October 2010