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logistics and retail updates

This series of updates aims to bring relevant government and industry statistics to life. As part of our assignments, we often help clients source both internal and external data, and then use it to drive logistics modelling, benchmarking, budgeting ...and action plans! To find out how we can help you by ringing 01295 758875 or contact us. If you'd like an alert when a fresh update is posted, ask us to email you or follow on Twitter:


Latest update - July 2014: European Transport Costs

European Transport Costs - no picture with this one, as it links through to a slide pack.


24 June 2014: Ups and downs of exports

On Saturday the Port of Hull celebrated the centenary of its King George Dock which was built in 1914 to export coal from Yorkshire pits - by 2013 over 80% of our coal was imported. So its good to see that Hull is one of the ports that increased its exports year on year in the first quarter of 2014 in the statistics released last week by DfT

The left hand map below shows the increase / decrease in export tonnage as a percentage change Q1 2013 to Q1 2014 - the extremes of change are represented by Ramsgate (Transeuropa went into administration in 2013) and Boston, which is affected by harvest levels. Of course tonnage as a measure favours the basics in life such as fuels, metals, quarry products etc, with five ports representing 50% of total tonnage: Tees & Hartlepool, Forth, Grimsby & Immingham, Milford Haven and Southampton - see right hand map.

To make this map BIGGER, please click on the map itself and then expand new window.

Aricia Update - freight export tonnage by port - 24 June 2014 - DfT - maritime - Logistics Statistics

NB The notes with the statistics also include reference to London Gateway, which will be included with London going forward. All the 2013 and 2014 data is currently provisional.


6 June 2014: Logistics rates hike? Not really!

Last week the Office for National Statistics (ONS), published the latest SPPI* figures. An overall index for Transportation and Storage has been added to the mix relatively recently and shows an increase of 8% against five years ago. The first thing of interest is that the start of the economic problems is now so long ago that a five year graph leaves 2008 far behind - and probably we should - now is the new norm. The second item to note is that, in this instance, Transportation and Storage includes business rail fares (up nearly 16% over that period) and business air fares (up by over 25%) - so my advice is don't go using it as an index for the logistics industry!

The graph below shows some (although by no means all) of the logistics elements. Despite some pretty dramatic looking ups and downs, many of these elements (rail freight, sea freight and contract packing) have ended up at much the same prices as five years ago, while roadfreight has ended up reflecting the increase in the overall SPPI, approx 5%.

To make this graph BIGGER, please click on the graph itself and then expand new window.

Aricia Update Graph - inflation - 6 June 2014 - ONS - SPPI - Logistics Statistics

*The Service Producers Price Index is a bit like the CPI, it shows the increase in prices and rates paid, only for services provided by businesses to other businesses and government - the top level Gross / GSO index as shown on the graph includes the provision of a number of different services to other service businesses as well as to non-service businesses and government departments. It is a quarterly index, so the most recent figures are for Q1.


22 April 2014: Who got behind and why?

Last week the Office for National Statistics (ONS) published the monthly Labour Market Statistics and accompanying data, including average weekly earnings by industry. These are not seasonally adjusted, as can be seen in the graph below by the large spike that used to occur every May prior to the recession - this was down to bonuses.

Much more unusual and interesting is the mega-spike in February this year, the latest figure published - 100 per week over the January figure, a big proportion of which is down to arrears. Pay arrears for transport have never been into double figures since the start of these statistics in 2000 (previous = max 8), but they were 68 in February, the largest amount for any industry in this period.

Now it has to be said that the February figure is a provisional figure, and as such subject to revision, but it raises the question: what are these huge arrears, which are completely distorting this graph? Did someone get advance notice of Vince Cable's threat to expose companies which are not paying the national minimum wage? Did they get a bit behind? Or, being more serious, did I miss a major company or public sector body giving a large back-dated pay settlement?

To make this graph BIGGER, please click on the graph itself and then expand new window.

Aricia Update Graph - Transport & storage wages - 22 April 2014 - ONS - Labour Market Statistics


14 April 2014: Price of bread

I was reminded, while reading about the impact that good harvests are having in the piece on the GPI (Grocer Price Index) in Saturday's The Grocer, about the price of bread around the world. Towards the end of March, I went along to Foodex and the Food & Drink Expo at the NEC and picked up a copy of the British Baker magazine, which included a chart of the price of bread in 59 cities around the world, which I've put on the map below.

British Baker in turn credits the EIU (Economist Intelligence Unit), so presumably these figures are getting a bit stale now (get it?), but it demonstrates the extent to which the price of a staple has little to do with the raw ingredients, and everything to do with pretty much everything else: cost of living, exchange rates (the prices shown on the map below are all in ), tastes, quality, manufacturing method, etc.

I would have been interested to see prices for rural areas as well as capital /major cities, although the price of bread in London is remarkably low - what does that say?

To make this map BIGGER, please click on the map itself and then expand new window.

Aricia Update Map - Price of Bread - 14 April 2014 - British Baker - EIU - retail statistics


1 April 2014: Food manufacturers to start mining waste

Figures published in February in a report by Wrap on the Food & Drink Federation Members' Waste Survey revealed that from 2014 the food manufacturing industry will not only NOT be using any landfill, but will be in a position to start to 'mine' waste that can ultimately be sold to the general public. The trend that has been established over a six year period can be clearly seen on the graph below - see page 19 of the report for the survey figures. The figure for 2013 has yet to be fully established, but there is no doubt that the figure for 2014 will be negative.

Kirsten Tisdale, MD of Aricia, a leading logistics consulting company, said "If anyone had suggested to me back in 2010 that we would be able to buy and eat what would once have gone to landfill, I wouldn't have believed them - it shows what strides have been made by the country in recent years. In a short time, landfill will be seen as a different type of foodbank. In this respect the Philippines has been way ahead of the UK, having delicacies made of pagpag for many years. It gives a completely different flavour to the expression Reverse Logistics".

To make this graph BIGGER, please click on the graph itself and then expand new window.

Aricia Update Graph - FDF Waste Survey - 1 April 2014 - grocery statistics


26 March 2014: What is the TPI?

Yesterday, the Office for National Statistics published the latest inflation figures. They also published data for the TPI*. So, what is the TPI and why is it interesting?

The TPI is the Tax and Price Index. Investopedia defines TPI as: A measure of the percentage that a consumer's income would have to adjust by in order to maintain the same level of purchasing power. The tax and price index (TPI) takes into account changes in retail prices due to inflation, as well as changes to direct taxes that reduce a consumer's disposable income.

The graph below shows how the TPI has changed compared with the CPI over the last five years, and it's immediately obvious that the TPI has risen faster over that period and that it had already risen above the CPI before the current government came to power in 2010. But the message is that inflation figures don't tell the full story about how far wages and salaries have been eroded (see update for 18 December 2013 below).

To make this graph BIGGER, please click on the graph itself and then expand new window.

Aricia Update Graph - TPI & CPI - Taxes and price inflation - ONS - 26 March 2014 - inflation statistics

*The TPI is NOT defined as a national statistic. 'National Statistics' are a subset of official statistics which have been certified by the UK Statistics Authority as compliant with its Code of Practice for Official Statistics. So I guess it has to be treated with a little more caution than those statistics that are formally counted as 'National Statistics'.


14 March 2014: Home delivery changes

How have home deliveries changed over the past five years? This update looks at the changes in charges to the consumer and last order cut-off times for next day deliveries for a selection of fashion and department stores, with information collected from each of the retailers' websites between 10 and 18 March 2009, and then updated over the last couple of days.

There's some advice on how to read the graphs below, along with a list of the retailers included, immediately under the graph. But, in brief, all of the retailers who still offer a next day service have made their last order cut off time later, two are the same price, one is cheaper, one is a little more expensive.

Of course all sorts of other developments have taken place: five years ago, only one of the five retailers examined offered Click & Collect; and one of the five now offers a same day service, which none of them did back in 2009. I also found it interesting that one retailer no longer offered a next day service, having done so five years ago.

To make this graph BIGGER, please click on the graph itself and then expand new window.

Aricia Update Graph - Home delivery charges - Next day order cut-offs - 14 March 2014 - retail statistics - logistics statistics

How to read the graphs above: the left hand graph is a straightforward plot of last order time for next day delivery on the x-axis, and the cost to the consumer on the y-axis. The inner colour of each spot shows you which retailer is which, shown on the legend below the graph, and the outer ring shows you which year - dark blue is 2009, light blue is 2014. I've added some arrows to help interpretation.

The same story can be seen on the right hand graph - this just shows the changes - how many hours later is the cut-off on the x-axis, how much cheaper or more on the y-axis.

Retailers:
ASOS - purple
HN = Harvey Nichols - grey
HoF = House of Fraser - bright pink
Jigsaw - orange
JLP = John Lewis - dark green

March 2009 - dark blue ring
March 2014 - light blue ring


4 March 2014: The return of railfreight

Last week the Office for National Statistics published the latest SPPI* figures. Railfreight is back! Actually it was back in the SPPI release at the end of November, but I wasn't sure then if it was back to stay. This element of the index hasn't been published since I questioned a big rise back in 2008 - in fact, delving into the figures, which are now all available again, the rises in 2008 were then negated by that big reduction in 2009 that you can see on the graph below.

Back in 2008, I questioned all sorts of people working in railfreight. The sorts of questions I asked were: Has a major contract suddenly changed? Is it a sampling issue within the statistics (rail freight is lumpy - in contract size, duration and mix) - has one company return distorted the results? Was it an exceptionally large quarter for coal traffic, which is very expensive to move? No-one in the industry could come up with any answers and the response to my questions to the ONS was that the index was withdrawn - which hadn't been at all what I'd intended and so it's great to see it back.

To make this graph BIGGER, please click on the graph itself and then expand new window.

Aricia Update Graph - Railfreight Return - ONS - SPPI - 4 March 2014 - logistics inflation - logistics statistics

I've also included on the graph the index for inflation in road transport rates as well as the SPPI at gross level. Although ending up with pretty much the same increase over the past five years as the SPPI as a whole, road transport rates have dropped in both of the past two quarters.

*The Service Producers Price Index is a bit like the CPI, it shows the increase in prices and rates paid, only for services provided by businesses to other businesses and government - the top level Gross / GSO index as shown on the graph includes the provision of a number of different services to other service businesses as well as to non-service businesses and government departments. It is a quarterly index, so the most recent figures are for Q4.


22 February 2014: The growth of Other

Yesterday was a day of coincidences - dreaming about liquorice and then discovering that liquorice might help the minor case of housemaid's knee that I have at the moment (not due to an excess of cleaning I can assure you!). But the second coincidence is very relevant to those working in retail and retail logistics: The Growth of Other.

First I read the latest ONS Retail Sales - have a look at that graph in Figure 4 on page 6.

Then I read in The Grocer about Charles Wilson's speech at the City Food Lecture titled Growth Outside the Supermarkets.

Finally I returned to ONS Retail Sales and looked at the various bits on internet sales - now I'll grant that the growth of Other Stores via online shopping over the past year is slightly exceeded by Clothing etc, and trailed closely by Department Stores, but there's no doubt that "Other" is a good place to be right now.

To make this graph BIGGER, please click on the graph itself and then expand new window.

Aricia Update Graph - Internet sales increase - ONS - 22 February 2014 - online shopping statistics - retail statistics


3 February 2014: What do you call it, how do you spell it and what's hot?

The great idea for this update didn't work - it originally contained some embedded graphs from Google Trends, which I was hoping would update over time, but instead they just disappeared! So there is now a screenprint replacing one of the original graphs.

What do you call it these days - "omnichannel" or "multichannel"? Do you use a hyphen? And does it really matter? While etailing and retailing, clicks and bricks, are at their best when fully integrated, melding the various streams of marketing, sales and returns together, that integration should be seamless to the customer. And it looks as though it probably is. Because, what do your customers call it? It looks like they prefer "online shopping" to fancy industry expressions.

In terms of what's hot, the current prize has to go to "click and collect", with that search term currently neck and neck with searches for "home delivery" - see the screenprint graph below. What we need now is a term that differentiates collection from the retailer who's made the sale versus a local collection point - or have I missed something?

To make this graph BIGGER, please click on the graph itself and then expand new window.

Aricia Update Graph - Home delivery - click and collect - Google trends - February 2014 - online shopping statistics


24 January 2014: What's actually in your driver's wallet

The top BBC headline today has been "UK pay rising in real terms, says coalition", and includes commentary from Labour leader Ed Miliband saying the figures were "dodgy" and ministers were out of touch with people's lives. So what's the situation like in the logistics and transport industry?

Those that came along to CILT's Outsourcing & Procurement Forum event in November on Benchmarking Outsourced Logistics - Vital Toolkits for Leading Manufacturers, and heard me speak, will already know that while driver basic pay continues to rise above inflation, average earnings have behaved in a much more conservative manner. To make this graph BIGGER, please click on the graph itself and then expand new window.

Aricia Update Graph - Driver Pay - Consumer Price Index - CPI - Croner - ONS - 24 January 2014 - logistics  statistics - transport statistics

I've updated the graph I used in that presentation with pay figures from Croner's Distribution & Transport Rewards and also the latest consumer price index from ONS, the Office for National Statistics. However uplifting the increase in basic pay, a driver's average earnings are affected by all sorts of things like how many hours s/he's asked to work, and also the reductions in shift premiums that our industry has witnessed over the past few years. Given the shape of the graph above, it's possibly not a surprise that ours is one of a minority of sectors that didn't see the much-vaunted increase in employment year on year.


20 January 2014: Internet sales challenges

On Friday the Wall Street Journal published the news that Amazon.com gained a patent for what it calls "anticipatory shipping", a method to start delivering packages even before customers click "buy" - that sounds like a challenge!

Also on Friday, the Office for National Statistics released the Retail Sales figures for December, and with them the sales attributed to internet shopping. While I don't have any particular questions about the time series data on which the graph below is based (the rise and rise of ecommerce just goes on and on), and although I've had one or two queries about these figures over the years, this is probably the first time that I've had a couple of queries about the same release:

Tweet 1: How is average weekly spend online in December 2013 stated as 675.4m on page 10 in the text element of the pdf (link above), but 957.7m in table ISCPNSA2 and in the time series data?

Tweet 2: Also looking at page 10 of the pdf (link above), the text details that online spend in deparment stores was estimated at 35.1%, but in the accompanying chart 35.1% is in the column for year on year growth.

I tweeted both queries to ONS, so when I get a reply I'll post up the answers here.

To make this graph BIGGER, please click on the graph itself and then expand new window.

Aricia Update Graph - Retail Sales - Internet - Home Shopping - ecommerce - ONS - 17 January 2014 - retail  statistics


18 December 2013: All I want for Christmas

Late last week the Office for National Statistics published its Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings, 2013 Provisional Results, with an interesting graph showing the annual percentage change in median full-time gross weekly earnings and the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) over a number of years - see page 12. The graph below takes the more recent data from the ONS graph and reinterprets it by taking both earnings and the CPI start from a base of 100 in 2008, to show how both have grown over the last five years. As a percentage difference, the CPI is 7.8% ahead compared with wages over the same period, meaning that what many earners would like for Christmas is money worth the same as five years ago. If you're in retail, that's a stack less stuff people can buy from you.

If you're interested in earnings and like a good map - here's an excellent interactive cartogram also from ONS - looks like London and the South East have eaten the Christmas pudding and have a bad case of indigestion!

To make this graph BIGGER, please click on the graph itself and then expand new window.

Aricia Update Graph - Earnings - CPI - ONS - 18 December 2013 - economic statistics


3 December 2013: Seafreight making waves

Last month the Office for National Statistics published the latest SPPI figures. The Service Producers Price Index is a bit like the CPI, it shows the increase in prices and rates paid, only for services provided by businesses to other businesses and government - the top level Gross / GSO index as shown on the graph includes the provision of a number of different services to other service businesses as well as to non-service businesses and government departments. It is a quarterly index, so the most recent figures are for Q3.

The increase in road transport rates has pretty much mirrored the SPPI as a whole over the last five years, parting company occasionally, and with a downward move in the last quarter. That move may not look large on the graph below, but for an industry where the largest 5 companies are all making less than 3% profit (and some much less), it's a substantial reduction. Here is Motor Transport's own report on its recent Top 100 analysis, and also its report on the latest SPPI road freight figures.

Meanwhile sea freight rates showed movement in the opposite direction after months of decline. Although the SPPI is not seasonally adjusted, it is not this that has led to the dramatic increases and decreases in the seafreight rates - like an advancing tsunami or storm surge, smaller changes are swamped. In an article in June this year, Lloyd's Loading List showed that it had its finger on the pulse by reporting that rates were as low as they could get.

To make this graph BIGGER, please click on the graph itself and then expand new window.

Aricia Update Graph - SPPI - road freight - sea freight - freight forwarding - ONS - 3 December 2013 - transport and logistics statistics


31 August 2013: Experimental data in storage and handling

Last week the Office for National Statistics published the latest SPPI figures and also published updates on some experimental indices that will interest those that work in logistics as they include Cargo Handling and Storage & Warehousing.

The Service Producers Price Index is a bit like the CPI, it shows the increase in prices and rates paid, only for services provided by businesses to other businesses and government - the top level Gross / GSO index as shown on the graph below includes the provision of a number of different services to other service businesses as well as to non-service businesses and government departments. It is a quarterly index, so the most recent figures are for Q2, and it is not seasonally adjusted.

If you are interested in using the cargo handling and storage indices, you need to note that, because these indices are experimental, all the data is provisional and undergoing quality assurance. The data for these indices may be subject to revision and, as a result, the new industries continue to be published separately from the main quarterly SPPI Statistical Bulletin. Also note that the handling index was said to be largely based on air cargo handling services, and the storage index largely bulk / other, with very little temperature controlled included, as the methodology is based on the proportion of turnover for the different services of the companies being surveyed.

I assume that the initial uplift in storage rates must reflect the data collected, as it jumps out of the page to be investigated!?

To make this graph BIGGER, please click on the graph itself and then expand new window.

Aricia Update Graph - SPPI - storage warehousing - cargo handling - ONS - 31 August 2013 - transport and logistics statistics


14 June 2013: Regional income loss

Earlier this week the TUC released analysis that had been carried out on the change in the UK's overall pay by region, with the headline that 52bn is being lost from local economies through job losses and shrinking pay packets. The data source for the TUC's analysis was the Office for National Statistics, and the methodology can be found on the TUC website.

The shading on the map below shows the total annual pay for each region for 2012, with the darkest green showing the region with highest income and white the lowest. The overlay of shaded spots demonstrates the change in total annual pay since 2007, with dark red indicating the region that has lost the most income, and white the least. So London, as a region, has the highest income (it's shaded the darkest green) and also has experienced the least reduction (it has the lightest coloured spot), whereas Wales is one of the regions with the lowest regional income (it's shaded white) and has suffered worse than many other regions in loss of income (it has quite a dark pink spot, although not the darkest).

This change in regional income will in turn be changing the profile of retail and logistics operations.

NB My apologies to those in Northern Ireland, as MapPoint still has problems with shading (and indeed now has some problems with other areas of the UK in certain applications in the 2013 version - progress!), however the figures for NI, and all other regions, can be found on the TUC's website given above.

To make this map BIGGER, please click on the graph itself and then expand new window.

Aricia Update Map - Income loss - UK regions - TUC - ONS - 14 June 2013 - economic statistics


27 May 2013: Freight rate increases restrained

Last week the Office for National Statistics published the latest SPPI figures - the Service Producers Price Index is a bit like the CPI, but for services provided by businesses. It is a quarterly index, with the most recent figures for Q1 - it is not seasonally adjusted.

Inflation in road freight rates (an element of the SPPI) continues to track slightly above the SPPI as a whole. The graph below also shows key passenger transport rates - business rail fares, as can be seen, are regulated and therefore inflation comes in the form of annual uplifts. Road freight increases have been below bus and coach hire rates, below rail fares, and well below those displayed by business air fares - in contrast, very restrained.

To make this graph BIGGER, please click on the graph itself and then expand new window.

Aricia Update Graph - SPPI - road freight - passenger transport - ONS - 27 May 2013 - transport and logistics statistics


3 May 2013: Better late than never!

Substantially fewer days were lost to strikes and disputes the last year according to figures published by the Office for National Statistics recently - 231K in the year to February 2013 versus 1.4m in the previous year. The previous figure was due to the large public sector strikes, and it can be seen on the graph below that it is still the public sector where most days have been lost.

There are some industries where no days were recorded as lost in either year (Agriculture, forestry and fishing; Mining and quarrying; Electricity, gas and air conditioning) and these are NOT included on the graph. A number of sectors that are included on the graph (Wholesale and retail trade and repairs; Accomodation and food service activities; Real estate activities) recorded no days lost in the most recent year.

For those working in logistics, worried about the increase in Transport and storage, this is also down to the public sector, with the pre-Olympic public transport strikes accounting for most, and possibly even all, of the days lost.

What's the relevance of the title? I meant to publish this on May Day, International Workers Day, but just ran out of time!

To make this graph BIGGER, please click on the graph itself and then expand new window.

Aricia Update Graph - May Day - International Workers Day - labour disputes - strikes - ONS - 3 May 2013 - retail and logistics statistics


17 April 2013: Turkey - why Mum's gone to Iceland!

Yesterday, my attention was drawn to labour statistics by a tweet - the link it included to OECD led to an interesting graph showing just how much Europe is the poor relation in the developed world with respect to employment rates, and continuing to decline.

The tweet also commented on women's employment rate versus that of men for Q4 2012 for the OECD as a whole. Calculating female employment rate as a percentage of the male employment rate, the country with the highest proportion of women in employment is Iceland at 97.5% (79% of women aged 15-64 were employed compared with 81% of men). The UK has 87.1%, which is a larger percentage than the EU as a whole at 84.3%.

Not all countries are included in the data, but one stands out on the map below - Turkey is the only country with less than half the proportion of women to men in employment (42.5% = 30% of women employed compared with 70% of men).

To make this map BIGGER, please click on the map itself and then expand new window.

Aricia Update Map - Female Male - Rate of employment - OECD - 17 April 2013 - economic and gender statistics


1 April 2013: What's driving the current logistics boom?

It's a long time since anyone has talked about a logistics boom in anywhere other than India and China. One of the more palatable aspects of the recent meat adulteration scandal has been that it has brought growing public awareness of the efficiency of modern supply chains. The ability of the logistics network to move this product from country to country, while enabling food retailers to keep the cost to consumers so low, is remarkable.

As this article in the Irish Examiner revealed about 10 days ago, the various nations involved have been willing to share expertise with their European partners at every opportunity. The complexity of the network that enables this operation, spanning the various modes of transport, is shown on the map below. While this trade continues, logistics providers across Europe can continue to reap rewards.

To make this map BIGGER, please click on the map itself and then expand new window.

Aricia Update Map - Horse Meat - European Supply Chain - Logistics Network - 1 April 2013 - transport and logistics statistics

I should probably have titled this one: Only Fools and Horses.


If you'd like to see older updates on a wide variety of subjects, please visit this link for archive updates.