Supply Chain by the Numbers

- May 1, 2015 -

  Supply Chain by the Numbers for Week of May 1, 2015

Walmart has Nearly Doubled Fleet Efficiency; US Economy Slumps Badly in Q1; Canadian Grocer Loblaw Making Hay with Private Label Brands; Amazon's Q1 North American Merchandise Sales Soar



That's the level of improvement that Walmart says it has achieved in its US fleet efficiency since 2005, according to the retail giant's just released Global Responsibility Report. It's not exactly clear how that measure is calculated, but it is probably something like cases delivered per mile driven, though there may also be some factor related to improved fuel mileage. That progress towards a goal of achieving 100% improvement from 2005 levels by the end of 2015. Walmart's improvement in fleet efficiency was 3.2% in 2014, likely indicating that additional gains are increasingly hard to find. Still, 87.4% improvement over 9 years has to have led to major costs reductions - in addition to the lower CO2 benefits - however it is calculated.




The very sluggish growth in real US GDP in Q1, according to the first estimate this week by the Bureau of Economic Analysis That was obviously a very disappointing number, though the growth rate will go through several more rounds of estimates before being finalized. This is a huge deceleration from Q4 2014, when real GDP gained a modest 2.2%. Economists on average were anticipating growth of 1% in Q1. Some economists are saying there is something funny with this number, and there will be a catch up in Q2, but we will note a very weak Q1 in 2014 basically ensured that for the full year US economic growth would be modest at best, coming in at 2.4% last year.


That was the year-over-year growth in’s first quarter merchandise sales in the North America - a very impressive number. That according to Amazon's Q1 earnings release last week. While by some other measures Amazon's growth is slowing, due in large part to the law of large numbers, this growth in merchandise sales in North America shows Amazon continues to have a lot of momentum, growing roughly twice the rate of US ecommerce sales overall. North American electronics and merchandise sales rose to $10.25 billion in the quarter, up from $7.81 in 2014.



That's the share of sales Canadian grocer Loblaw has with its private label brands, according to a presentation by CIO Bruce Burrows at the JDA user conference this week in Orlando. That versus an overall Canadian private label grocery share of 18.4% in Canada and 17.5% in the US, according to research released in late 2014 by Nielsen. "Our private label brands are reasons for consumers to switch grocers," Burrows said in a keynote presentation at the JDA event. In general, private label sales continue to grow in developed economies, but are still viewed dubiously in developing markets. We keep wondering how this will continue to play out in terms of relationships and collaboration between manufacturers and retailers.