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Imported merchandise sales remain stagnant

national retail federationA report released on Monday by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates indicate retailers are refraining from stocking up on merchandise for the holidays.

“With the economic recovery moving slowly, retailers are being cautious this summer and could hold off on stocking up for the holiday season until fall,” Jonathan Gold,NRF vice president for supply chain and customs policy, said. “We aren’t expecting significant increases for imports until October, when retailers will have a better idea of what to expect for holiday demand.”

Imported merchandise for May was up 2.2 percent compared to May 2012. The anticipated increase from June 2012 to June is 1.1 percent.

The first six months of 2013 are projected to total 7.8 million twenty-foot equivalent units, up 1.9 percent from the first half of 2012. The total for 2012 was 15.8 million twenty-foot equivalent units, up 2.9 percent from 2011.

“We are witnessing a period of import trade growth that is running more or less in sync with the U.S. economic expansion,” Ben Hackett, the founder of Hackett Associates said.“Unfortunately, both are anemic. The impact of this extremely cautious consumer spending is that we expect import consumption to remain weak for the coming four to six months.”

The report does not have a direct connection to retail sales or employment. The cargo count only includes the number of containers brought into the country. The report does not include the value of the merchandise inside the containers.

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