Shoppers prepare for the holiday season.

Imports rates increase as retailers stock up for holiday season

October is expected to be the second-busiest month for major retail container ports as companies stock up on merchandise before the holiday season.

Ports handled 1.71 million 20-foot equivalent units (TEU) in August — a 5 percent increase from the month before, according to a monthly report released by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.

That number is expected rise in October, according to the report. Volume dipped in September to an estimated 1.64 million units but was still up from 2015.

October is estimated to bring in 1.65 million units, up 6 percent from last year.

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“November and December are the busiest time for holiday shopping, but this is the month for the behind-the-scenes supply chain work that ensures shoppers will find what they want, where they want it, when they want it,” said Jonathon Gold, the NRF vice president for supply chain and customs policy.

Holiday sales are expected to exceed $655 billion this year, according to the National Retail Federation.

Sales in November and December — excluding automotive, gas and restaurant sales — are estimated to increase by 3.6 percent, significantly higher than the 10-year average of 2.5 percent.

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Since the economic recovery began in 2009, the seven-year average was 3.4 percent.

“All of the fundamentals are in a good place, giving strength to consumers and leading us to believe that this will be a very positive holiday season,” said Matthew Shay, NRF president and CEO. “This year hasn’t been perfect, starting with a long summer and unseasonably warm fall, but our forecast reflects the very realistic steady momentum of the economy and industry expectations.”

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