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Supply Chain by the Numbers

- May 19, 2022

  Supply Chain by the Numbers for May 19, 2022

Target, Walmart See Big Profit Hits; Now BackUps at Port of New York; US Manufacturing Still Strong in April; Gas Station Chain Preparing for Double Digit Prices




That incredibly was the drop in the price of Target’s stock price Wednesday, falling more than $50 per share. That giant drop in Target’s stock price came after its profits in its quarter ending at the end April were cut in half, the company said in its quarterly report released Wednesday morning. Target cited higher costs from supply chain issues, notably freight expense, and reduced consumer discretionary spending on certain items like furniture, as customers faced higher living costs. “We did not anticipate that transportation and freight costs would soar the way they have as fuel prices have risen to all-time highs,” said CEO Brian Cornell. Meanwhile, rival Walmart earlier in the week reported quarterly earnings that missed Wall Street’s expectations by a wide margin, as the nation’s largest retailer also felt pressure from rising fuel costs and higher levels of inventory. Together, “The discounters were caught flat-footed in not raising prices fast enough to offset inflation's ugly tentacles,” said Yahoo Finance.



That is how many container ships have been waiting in a queue outside the port of Port of New York and New Jersey in recent days. That may not sound like much compared to ship backlogs seen at the twin ports of LA and Long Beach, but it’s causing worries at the nation’s busiest East Coast port, given expectations higher shipment volumes in summer as the peak shipping season begins. The Wall Street Journal says that Port officials are working with ocean carriers, truckers and warehouses on steps to ease the logjam. Part of the issue is importers switching to other ports, including those on the East Coast, to avoid delays at LA/Long Beach. Bethann Rooney, director of New York/New Jersey port operations, says the port’s cargo-handling facilities began struggling early this year as shippers took longer to pick up imports from docks and as empty containers piled up waiting to be returned overseas. She said the port’s container yards are clogged with 120,000 empty boxes, gumming up the works.




That was the April level of the US Manufacturing Index, as released earlier this week the Federal Reserve Bank, as it does every month. That was up nicely from 102.5 in March, and a big 5.8% versus April 2021, as so far at lease US manufacturing is staying strong despite high inflation and some signs of a cooling economy. Still, at 103.2, it means US manufacturing output is just 3.2% above the baseline year of 2012 now ten years later. It is also well below the all-time high of about 110 seen in late 2007.




That scarily is the two-digit price for gasoline that chain “’76” stores is reprogramming its pumps to be able to handle. The move by 76 comes as the nation's average gasoline price soars to $4.57-a-gallon, and much higher in California and some other parts of the country. AAA is reporting an average above $5 a gallon in California, Washington, Nevada and Hawaii, with Oregon not far behind. A spokesperson for 76 confirmed the national chain has begun reconfiguring its pumps to “make room” for the possibility of double-digit price, starting in Washington state. Let’s just all hope the $10 threshold is still many years away.

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