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Inventory tide turning in 2010


Target and other retailers aggressively managed inventories last year in the face of weak demand, and the discipline paid off during the holiday season, as markdown exposure was minimized. While abundant caution remains in the marketplace, one sure sign that retailers are optimistic about increased demand during the back half of the year can be seen in the situation unfolding at the nation’s ports where a 25% increase in container volume is forecast during the first half of the year. That’s according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released by the National Retail Federation and consulting firm Hackett Associates.

“Increases in import volumes don’t correspond directly with dollar volumes in sales, so caution has to be exercised when looking at these numbers. But retailers are clearly expecting to move more merchandise this year,” said Jonathan Gold, NRF VP supply chain and customs policy.


The monthly report monitors traffic at the ports of Long Angeles/Long Beach, Oakland, Seattle and Tacoma, New York/New Jersey, Hampton Roads, Charleston and Savannah and Houston.

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