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Importers Upbeat on Holiday Prospects

August 16, 2012


By Evan Clark

August 14, 2012

The economy might be sending warning signals, but importers’ order books for the back half are relatively bullish.

Capital Business Credit’s Global Retail Manufacturers and Importers Survey found that 33 percent of importers selling to major U.S. retailers are seeing an uptick in their holiday orders. Another 44 percent report their orders are the same as last year.

Additionally, 87 percent of importers said the back-to-school season would be the same or stronger than last year’s.

“Like many other recent economic indicators, we are getting a lot of mixed signals from importers and manufacturers of retail goods,” said Andrew Tananbaum, executive chairman of Capital Business Credit. “There is the potential for growth as we head into the back-to-school and fall seasons.”

All of that is welcome news for importers given the last few months.

Tananbaum said the summer was weaker than expected with just 28 percent of those taking the survey seeing year-over-year growth. And 66 percent of respondents reported that growth this summer was supported by heavy discounting.

“We anticipated summer would be stronger than it actually netted out being,” he said. “From what we heard from both the manufacturers in China we work with, and the importers in the U.S., summer was a disappointment.”

The retail picture will come into sharper focus this week when Michael Kors Holdings Ltd., Saks Inc., The TJX Cos. Inc., Target Corp., Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and others report quarterly results.