Retail Imports to Rise 5.1 Percent in September

Container PortImport volume at the nation’s major retail container ports should increase by 5.1 percent this month over last September, according to the latest Global Tracker Report issued by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.

Jonathan Gold, NRF’s vice president for supply chain and customs policy, said the import bump-up this month should occur because U.S. retailers are preparing for the holidays and making up for the low import volumes from earlier this year. “It’s too early to predict holiday sales,” Gold said, “but merchants are clearly stocking up.”

In July, the most recent month with available import date, the ports handled 1.1 percent more merchandise than in July of last year. The Global Tracker Report said August’s volume should increase 4.1 percent over last August, and October’s volume should rise 9 percent.

The gains in the months following October should be 2.2 percent for November, 0.7 percent for December and 1.9 percent for January 2014.

Ben Hackett, founder of Hackett Associates, said the data is a sign that the U.S. economy “is on the road to sustained growth.” Hackett cited better than expected growth in gross domestic product in the second quarter and an improving jobs picture—all of which point to higher consumer confidence and increased fourth-quarter sales for retailers.