After years of enduring a struggling economy, retail sales are projected to increase anywhere from 3.7% and 4.2% according to the National Retail Federation (NRF). This is evidenced by the rise in retail imports and due to growth in the American job sector.
The beginning of the year showed dismal import numbers that were most likely caused by the Chinese New Year. Consequently, production in Asia was slow. In the following months, imports shot up and the high volume is expected to continue. Global Port Tracker reports that June is predicted to reach 1.64 million TEU, a gain of over 4% from last June. August is set to reach record-breaking volume since 2000. Jonathan Gold, VP of supply chain and customs policy at NRF reported, “We’re expecting some of the largest import volumes we’ve ever seen and that’s because retailers are responding to strong consumer demand.”
Economy Up, Spending Up
For the better part of the last decade consumers have gingerly spent their earnings for fear of an economic catastrophe and looming unemployment. In turn, the effects of the recession have been felt for the better part of the last decade. Sadly, as spending halts, jobs are lost and a vicious cycle continues. As the economy slowly made its way back onto its feet job growth and lowering debt has increased consumer spending. With this, retailers have been catering to consumer demands and thus increased their imports. The NRF reiterates that cargo volume does not directly translate into sales numbers because the number of containers does not indicate the exact value of product inside. But, the increase in cargo still gives an indicator of expected sales from retailers.
The growth of imports is an excellent indicator of a stronger retail environment and a resurgence of the economy as a whole. As consumers gain more confidence and spending increases, retail imports could reach pre-recession levels.