Like many close observers of the shipping business, I know a secret about the federal government’s relationship with Amazon: The U.S. Postal Service delivers the company’s boxes well below its own costs. Like an accelerant added to a fire, this subsidy is speeding up the collapse of traditional retailers in the U.S. and providing an unfair advantage for Amazon. . . In 2007 the Postal Service and its regulator determined that, at a minimum, 5.5% of the agency’s fixed costs must be allocated to packages and similar products. A decade later, around 25% of its revenue comes from packages, but their share of fixed costs has not kept pace. First-class mail effectively subsidizes the national network, and the packages get a free ride. An April analysis from Citigroup estimates that if costs were fairly allocated, on average parcels would cost $1.46 more to deliver. It is as if every Amazon box comes with a dollar or two stapled to the packing slip—a gift card from Uncle Sam.
While new-vehicle registrations fell 1.4% nationally in January through March, California dealers experienced a 0.7% increase in registrations, putting the state on the path for another year of sales exceeding 2 million vehicles.
In the same time frame, 4.8% of new vehicles registered in the Golden State were zero-emission vehicles and plug-in hybrids, the highest share ever recorded.
Sales at U.S. stores, restaurants and online retailers increased a seasonally adjusted 0.4% in April from the prior month, the largest gain in three months, the Commerce Department said Friday. Also, the University of Michigan reported its consumer-sentiment index rose to 97.7 in early May—the strongest reading since January, when sentiment reached a 13-year high.
Since October, about 89,000 workers in general merchandise stores have lost their jobs, which is more than the number of people employed in the entire US coal industry, The New York Times reported. . . The retail industry, which employs about one out of every 10 American workers, typically pays low wages but provides employment to people in every age bracket, as well as those who are low-skilled and need flexible scheduling options.
So when these workers lose their jobs, they can have a hard time finding other employment.
The profound reordering of New York’s shopping scene reflects a broad restructuring in the American retail industry.
E-commerce players, led by the industry giant Amazon, have made it so easy and fast for people to shop online that traditional retailers, shackled by fading real estate and a culture of selling in stores, are struggling to compete. This shift has been building gradually for years. But economists, retail workers and real estate investors say it appears that it has sped up in recent months.
Between 2010 and 2014, e-commerce grew by an average of $30 billion annually. Over the past three years, average annual growth has increased to $40 billion.
Retail sales fell a seasonally adjusted 0.2% last month, the Commerce Department said Friday, after a revised 0.3% decline in February. But over the last 12 months, retail sales have risen 5.2%, a sign that that the economy remains on stable footing.
Still, there are indications that consumers are growing more cautious even though the unemployment rate declined in March to a low 4.5%. Steady job growth as the recovery from the Great Recession nears its eighth year and a bump in consumer sentiment following President Trump’s presidential election have yet to strengthen spending much.
Since the start of 2017, Americans have actually cut back on purchases at auto dealers and restaurants and bars, two major sources of sales gains in prior years. Sales dipped 1.5% last month at auto dealers and 0.6% at restaurants and bars. It was the second straight monthly drop in sales for both categories.
The hiring is expected to continue through mid-April and comes as the company prepares for spring, its busiest time of the year.
Longtime Bay Area retailer Jeremy’s has withdrawn plans for a store in Oakland and will instead shut down entirely, after saying permitting delays had made it unable to open the new location in time for Black Friday.
“Sales at retail stores, online retailers and restaurants rose a seasonally adjusted 0.6% in September from the prior month, matching economists’ expectations for a rebound after sales fell 0.2% in August, the Commerce Department reported Friday. Stronger auto sales and rising gasoline prices boosted the headline figure last month, and spending excluding gas and autos rose a more modest 0.3%, though that was still the best gain in three months.”
For the first three months of this year, registrations for new cars sold exceeded 500,000, a 3.8 percent improvement over the first quarter of 2015, marking the 22nd consecutive year-over-year increase in quarterly registrations.
New passenger car registrations in the state increased 5.8 percent last year, while light trucks were up 19.4 percent.
The California New Car Dealers Association said Monday that vehicle sales rose to 2.05 million in 2015, up from 1.85 million the year before. The growth rate in California compared with 5.2 percent growth nationally.
The 0.1 percent drop matched the median forecast of 84 economists surveyed by Bloomberg and followed a 0.4 percent gain in November, Commerce Department figures showed Friday in Washington. For all of 2015, purchases climbed 2.1 percent, the smallest advance of the current economic expansion.
According to Georgia car registrations, sales shot up as electric car buyers rushed to take advantage of the tax credit before it expired. But the numbers declined sharply in July and took a swan dive in August — the most recent month tabulated.
And they have decided to shut down their wrecking business because of costly pending government and environmental regulations, including Affordable Care Act insurance for their employees, rising minimum wages, a stormwater runoff permit and family estate taxes.