Monday, April 12, 2010

Inventory Rebuilding Shows Economic Strength

April 12 (Bloomberg) -- Companies from Tiffany & Co. to Home Depot Inc. are restocking shelves in a move that will boost economic growth and may keep the recovery on track through 2010. New York-based Tiffany is planning for a “high single-digit percentage increase” in inventories this year as the world’s second-largest luxury jeweler retailer opens new stores, Chief Financial Officer James Fernandez told analysts. Home Depot, the largest U.S. home-improvement retailer, “will be building inventory” this year in support of stronger sales.

“We’re moving into the restocking phase,” said David Hensley, director of global economic coordination for JPMorgan Chase & Co. “We’ll see successive additions to growth in the first quarter, second quarter and third quarter.”

“Sales bottomed sooner than companies expected,” so businesses now have fewer goods than they need, Hensley said. He projects the economy will expand 2.5% in the first quarter and 4% in both the second and third quarters, with the inventory cycle boosting GDP by 0.5%, 1% and 0.4% respectively.

The ratio of business inventories to sales was 1.25 in January, just above a 29-year low of 1.24 set in 2006 and down from a recession high of 1.46 in January 2009 (see chart above). The ratio averaged 1.3 in the last economic expansion, from 2001 to 2007.

As sales rise, businesses will have even more reason to add to their stocks, said Stephen Stanley, chief economist at Pierpont Securities. Nike reported that future orders for delivery from March through July rose 4% in North America from a year earlier. “We will certainly need the inventory to support that business,” Chief Financial Officer Don Blair told analysts.

MP: The inventory-to-sales ratio of 1.25 in January is back to pre-recession levels and is consisent with economic expansion. The strong inventory replenishment is just one more indicator that the economic recovery is real and sustainable.


At 4/12/2010 6:30 PM, Blogger bobble said...

i think the economy is still heavily on government life support

here's an interesting chart from "the market ticker" blog that shows what happens if you remove government deficit spending from GDP.

without government deficit spending, GDP is tanking at a 10% rate.

the market ticker

here's a chart from "calculated risk" showing real personal income less transfer payments (unemployment checks, etc) plotted as a percentage of of the peak.

in a free fall.

calculated risk

At 4/12/2010 11:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

without government deficit spending, GDP is tanking at a 10% rate.

And yet the stimulus is doing no good.

At 4/13/2010 7:22 AM, Anonymous niknaknoo said...

Yeh, restocking with cheap Chinese imports!!


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