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Supply Chain by the Numbers

- Jan. 3, 2013

  Supply Chain by the Numbers for Week of Jan. 3, 2013

Holiday Retail Sales Lukewarm; Unclogging the Mississippi Barge Back Up; GE Aviation's Engine Running at Full Supply Chain Throttle; FedEx Absolutely, Positively has Some Explaining to Do



Rise in same store sales in December among 19 large US retailers surveyed each month by Thomson Reuters, as reported this week. That compares with a 3.5% rise in the same month last year and headline inflation currently running at 1.8%, indicating a weak Christmas shopping season. But we've found the retail numbers are all over the map. The Nation Retail Federation, for example, forecasts a 4.1% increase in retail spending in November and December versus 2011. And ecommerce continues to thrive. Just before Christmas, research group ComScore said online spending was up 16% from a year ago in November and December.




Number of feet of river bottom material the Army Corps of Engineers is removing in a critical Mississippi River channel south of St. Louis in a frantic effort to keep barge traffic moving on the waterway. The level in the river continues to be way down due to the lingering effects of the drought this summer and lately freezing temperatures in the region that have reduced snow melt and water flow from the Missouri River. Waiting ships are marshaled through sections of the channel as material is removed. 60% of corn and soybean exports that travel down the river are in jeopardy, among other commodities impacted.

$3 Billion+

The amount of investment in plant and equipment GE Aviation, a leading maker of aircraft engines, plans from 2013 through 2017, the company said this week. That's up from $1.6 billion in 2008-2012, about a 50% annualized increase. Most of this spend will be in the US. GE is getting more vertically integrated, buying up suppliers, and plans to open two new plants, in Mississippi and Alabama, in 2013.



Approximate amount of surcharge that FedEx assesses for residential versus business express deliveries - and that a lawsuit against the company alleges were erroneously applied for a number of years for shipments to some business locations, including the company’s own headquarters. The suit was first filed in 2011, but new details came to light in December when a US district court unsealed some related documents, including emails from a regional FedEx sales manager claiming the company knew of the issue and wasn't taking action to fix the problem. Unclear yet how big a deal this is. See Does Alleged FedEx Overbilling Reinforce Need for Parcel Freight Bill Auditing?

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