Updated on October 23, 2011
U.S. retail sales rose modestly in March as auto sales plunged and consumers stretched to pay for pricey gasoline.
Total retail sales increased 0.4 percent, the smallest gain in nine months, the Commerce Department said on Wednesday, after rising 1.1 percent in February.
Economists had expected retail sales to increase 0.5 percent last month and upward revisions to the prior months' numbers took the sting out the report.
"It does look like the consumer is hanging in there in the face of higher energy prices. That they wouldn't was everyone's concern," said Nicholas Colas, chief market strategist at the Convergex Group in New York.
According to the Energy Information Administration, gasoline prices rose 35 cents to an average $3.62 a gallon in March and it warned on Tuesday that prices could increase to about $4 a gallon nationwide this summer.
Receipts at gasoline stations, which accounted for about 10.7 percent of overall retail sales last month, increased 2.6 percent after rising 2.4 percent in February. Excluding gasoline, retail sales were up a scant 0.1 percent in March after a 0.9 percent rise the prior month.
Consumer spending, which accounts for 70 percent of U.S. economic activity, is expected to slow after growing at a brisk 4.0 percent annual rate in the fourth quarter, as rising gasoline and food costs eat into household budgets.
Economists, who view the high gasoline prices as a speed-bump in the economic recovery, have cut their first-quarter growth forecasts. They expect growth to regain its momentum later this year as improving labor market conditions boost incomes.
Compared to March last year, sales were up 7.1 percent.
Sales excluding autos rose 0.8 percent last month after increasing 1.1 percent in February, a touch above economists' expectations for a 0.7 percent increase. Auto sales fell 1.7 percent.
Clothing store receipts rose 0.6 percent last month, while sales at building materials and garden equipment suppliers increased 2.2 percent.
So-called core retail sales — which exclude autos, gasoline and building materials — rose 0.4 percent after a 1.1 percent gain in February.
Core sales correspond most closely with the consumer spending component of the government's gross domestic product report. Receipts at sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores edged up 0.1 percent.
Updated on July 25, 2011
As an internet reseller for eight different suppliers, I’ve had my share of good and bad experiences with suppliers. I am approached almost weekly by people who want me to sell their products on my websites. I turn many suppliers down because they did not have enough of the perfect supplier qualities. If you are looking for resellers to sell a product that you produce, follow these ten tips to become the perfect supplier.
1. Drop Ship. You save your resellers time and money by drop shipping your product directly to their customers. Most resellers are willing to pay a nominal drop ship charge, usually $2-$5 per item. By drop shipping your product, you allow the reseller to enjoy ultimate cash flow by receiving payment from her customers before purchasing the item.
2. Offer Branding. Put your reseller’s contact information on the product. Can you offer a custom tag or sticker on the product? This leads to repeat business for your reseller.
3. Ship Blind. Do not include your contact information or the purchase price. Instead, make sure all the contact information will point customers to your reseller, not you.
4. Allow Resellers to Pay You By Credit Card. This saves accounting time and lets the reseller earn miles or rewards.
5. Ship Quickly. Make sure your product gets out the door within a couple of days. Slow shipments are the kiss of death for resellers. Immediately inform resellers about backorders or delays.
6. Ship Correctly. Send the right product to the right person.
7. Provide Internet-Ready Images. Resellers will be much more likely to add your products to their website if the reseller does not have to take her own pictures. Provide as many quality images as you possibly can.
8. Load ‘Em Up with Info. FAQ’s, tech or ingredients lists. Detailed product descriptions. Provide as much information as possible in a cut-and-paste format that makes for easy uploading to a website. Remember, your reseller needs to be able to answer all customer questions and she needs to know everything about your product. Make yourself available to answer questions and provide product updates.
9. Send Samples. It is hard for a reseller to sell something that she hasn’t actually seen. If your product is too expensive to send out for free, you can request that the products are returned to you after the reseller checks them out.
10. Don’t Compete. If you plan to sell the product yourself also, sell it at full retail so you aren’t undercutting your reseller’s profit. Feel free to set at MAP price (minimum advertised price) to protect your brand image, but make it low enough for reseller promotions and profit.