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Insight Reports

US Retail Inventory Tracker, 4Q18: Potential Tariff Hike and Poor Holiday Sales Lead to Higher Inventories

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Coresight Research

Key Points

In this first of our quarterly US Retail Inventory Tracker reports we analyze inventory trends among our Coresight 100 US retailers.

  • Most retailers increased inventory even as the holiday season ended, with looming tariff increases a major cause: Retailers pre-bought expecting higher future import tariffs on products from China.
  • Apparel specialty retailers similarly piled up stock ahead of the potential tariff increase, such as specialty retailers Dick’s Sporting Goods and Burlington Stores.
  • Department stores held inventory levels lower. Macy’s merchandise inventory was impacted by a fire, Kohl’s invested to optimize inventory, so the company was able to reduce stock and increase turnover.
  • General-merchandise retailers, such as Walmart and Dollar General, also increased inventory ahead of tariff increases.
  • Luxury retailer inventory levels increased due to planned investments in store expansion and assortment mix optimization.

 

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