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Cyber Monday Sales Dwarf Black Friday's

Online retailers see sales increases on Cyber Monday over 10% higher than those from Black Friday

Here in the supply chain world, I am always interested in consumer news since 80 percent of the U.S. economy is driven by consumer spending. And of course a good chunk of that spending is occurring right now. We now know Cyber Monday was hot and Black Friday was not.

Wal-Mart, Target and other online retailers saw cybersales jump 17.5 percent to 19 percent, depending on which measurement you use. Half of those sales were made over a smartphone or tablet, as mobile devices are now the preferred way to buy online.

Thanksgiving/Black Friday retail sales were up 2.3 percent, matching expectations, the smallest sales increase since 2009. ShopperTrak said sales were $12.3 billion on heavy retailer discounting.

In a forecast of economic growth for the next three to six months, the leading economic indicator index released by the Conference Board showed a 0.2 percent gain in November. The index had been up 0.7 percent in October.

 

Transportation News: 2014 Forecast

In transportation, regulatory and service issues are still on the minds of transportation executives as they look into the coming year. Among the challenges and opportunities:

 

  • The loss of driver productivity from the July implementation of the hours-of-service rules.
  • Mandatory ELDs (electronic logs tracking drive time) are coming, probably in 2016, after a three-year period.
  • Shippers are pushing for more competitive railroad switching but this has been delayed until a Surface Transportation Board hearing can take place after the confirmation of a new commissioner.
  • Transportation brokerage will continue to grow as brokers become ingrained within shipper organizations, understanding their needs and the lane needs of the carriers.
  • More brokers will offer intermodal services using the railroads’ door-to-door pricing. That change opens a growth area for the brokerage industry while converting freight from the highway to the rails.
  • Railroads will continue to push their rates up. In the west, look for a battle between UP and BNSF.
  • Parcel carriers will continue to push their service offerings and pricing upward. UPS is already set to raise its pricing 4.9 percent on Dec. 30 and DHL has matched that increase, effective Jan. 2.
  • LTL carriers will also keep pushing rates higher. Already we are seeing UPS Freight, ABF, and YRC increase rates 5.9 percent.

Speaking of YRC, the fight for survival continues as they are seeking flexibility from the Teamsters in locking down contractual changes for a five-year period. Without it, lender funding could dry up, forcing YRC into bankruptcy. Considering the significant Teamster ownership position in the company, I would expect for them to work out some kind of arrangement.