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A Sunny Horizon for Retailers?

Are better days just over the horizon? After a Toy Fair where everyone seemed generally upbeat about where the economy was heading — a notch just above “cautiously optimistic” — today comes news from the National Retail Federation that imports are expected to rise by 13 percent this month over March 2009, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released today by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates. Not only that, increases are expected in April (estimated 19 percent), May (17 percent), June (25 percent), and July (20 percent). February posted 1.08 million twenty-foot equivalent units, an increase of 29 percent over last year.

“These numbers show that retailers continue to anticipate improvements in the U.S. economy,” NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said. “This is very different from the past two years when merchants were continually cutting their imports in an effort to manage inventory.”

Hackett Associates founder Ben Hackett said the U.S. economy appears to be in true recovery rather than the mid-point upswing of a double-dip recession, and said the growth rates “appear to be healthy.”

Keep your fingers crossed… except to use that debit card.

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