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FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF RICHMOND
General Business and Agricultural Conditions in the
Fifth Federal Reserve District
By C A L D W E L L H A R D Y , Chairman and Federal Reserve Agent

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA, JULY 30, 1921
full t i m e , and wholesale
June is usually a dull busi­
trade shows up well in com­
ness month, and this year it
CO N TE N TS
parison with May and the
was no exception, but on the
earlier months of the year.
whole developments in the
Retail trade in the depart­
District were not unsatisfac­
Introduction
ment stores of the District
tory. Collections continuebetCondition o f M em ber Banks
is less in dollar value than
ter than might reasonably be
Debits to Individual A ccount
during June, 1920, but in
expected, showing improve­
M onthly Clearings
actual units of merchandise
ment over earlier months.
Business Failures
sold, appears to continue
Collections
The record of failures re­
Labor
ahead of last year.
ported by D u n ' s Review
Textiles
On the other hand, crop
gives the Fifth District both
Foods
prospects are considerably
the lowest number and the
Agriculture
below five and ten year
Building Materials
lowest total liabilities in­
Building Operations
averages in all leading crops,
volved for any month this
Retail Trade
particularly in cotton, to­
year. Reports from indi­
W h olesale Trade
vidual cities showing clear­
bacco, and fruit. In view
ings and debits to individual
of the greatly reduced ex­
account are lower than last
penditures on tobacco and
year, but in view of price changes since 1920, indi­ cotton crops this season, and the large carry­
cate approximately the same volume of business over from last year’s s u r p l u s , the predicted
transactions. The textile industry continues to get slump in production for 1921 may not be un­
sufficient orders to keep mills running reasonably fortunate.

CONDITION OF EIGHTY REPORTING MEMBER BANKS IN SELECTED CITIES
July 6, 1921

IT E M S
1. Total Loan and Discounts (exclusive
of rediscounts) -----------------------------2. Total Investments in Bonds and Se­
curities -------------------------------------------3. Total Loans and Investments------------4. Reserve Balance with Reserve Bank—
5. Cash in Vaults--------------------------------------6. Demand D e p o sits---------------------------------7. Time Deposits ------------------------------------8. Discounted with Federal R e s e r v e
Bank -----------------------------------------------

$

♦ Includes some miscellaneous investments.

406,911,000

June 8, 1921

$

413,288,000

121.269.000
528.180.000
32.855.000
15.543.000
299.492.000
116.198.000

$

117.017.000
530.305.000
31.595.000
16.250.000
297.377.000
116.420.000

72.144.000

July 9, 1920

72.287.000

479,867,000*
82,588,000**
562.455.000
37.612.000
19.002.000
338.213.000
103.431.000
84.955.000

** Government Securities only.

In the table given above, compiled from condition reports received from the same eighty member
banks, located in thirteen cities of the District, all items are comparable except numbers 1 and 2. Com­
paring the figures as of July 6, 1921, with those as of July 9, 1920, all item show decreases within the
year except Item 7, Time Deposits, which increased from $103,431,000 to $116,198,000, a gain of $12,767,000, or 12.3%. Total Loans and Investments decreased between the two dates from $562,455,000 to




$528,180,000, a decline of $34,275,000, or 6.1% ; Reserve Balance with the Federal Reserve Bank decreased
from $37,612,000 to $32,855,000, a decline of $4,757,000, or 12.6% ; Cash in Vaults fell from $19,002,000 to
$15,543,000, a decline of $3,459,000, or 18.2% ; and Demand Deposits decreased from $338,213,000, to
$299,492,000, a decline of $38,721,000, or 11.4%. Discounts and rediscounts with the Federal Re­
serve Bank fell within the year from $84,955,000 to $72,144,000, a decline of $12,811,000, or 15.1%.
Comparing the July 6, 1921, figures with those as of June 8, 1921, increases are found in Total
Investments in Bonds and Securities, in Reserve Balance with Federal Reserve Bank, and in Demand
Deposits, while decreases are found in Total Loans and Discounts, in Total Loans and Investments,
in Cash in Vaults, in Time Deposits, and in Discounts and Rediscounts with the Federal Reserve Bank.
The movement of deposits during June was striking, the increase in Demand Deposits and the de­
crease in Time Deposits being movements contrary to those noted continuously during the past year.
On the whole, Demand Deposits have been slowly but steadily declining while Time Deposits have
been increasing, but the June development in the eighty reporting banks shows a reversal of these
tendencies. The condition reports as of July 6, 1921 show the banks to be in a stronger position than
they were on June 8, 1921, except in Cash in Vaults.
DEBITS TO INDIVIDUAL ACCOUNT IN CLEARING HOUSE CENTERS
For the W e ek s Ending

C IT IE S

June 8, 1921

July 6, 1921
Baltimore, Md. __________________________
Charleston, S. C__________________________
Charlotte, N. C___________________________
Columbia, S. C. _____ ____________________
Greenville, S. C ___________________________
Huntington, W . V a ---------------------------------Norfolk, V a . ______________________________
Raleigh, N. C_____________________________
Richmond, Va. ---------------------------------------Washington, D. C . ----------------------------------Wilm ington, N. C________________________

$

Totals for 8 c itie s -----------------------Totals for 11 c itie s -------------------------

99,260,000
7.019.000
5.865.000
4.300.000
3,640,000*
4.540.000
13.888.000
4.350.000
26.505.000
41,357,000*
5,039,000*

$

$

165,727,000
215,763,000

91,179,000
6,011,000
5.409.000
3.791.000
3,115,000*
5.173.000
14.146.000
4.050.000
25.262.000
42,556,000*
4,728,000*

July 7, 1920
$

i

155.021.000
205.420.000

108,543,000
9.875.000
7.340.000
5.742.000
5.175.000
19,797,000
3.900.000
29,361,000.

189,733,000

*Not Included in Totals for 8 Cities.

Debits to Individual Account in eight cities of the Fifth District totaled $165,727,000 for the week
ending July 6, 1921, compared with $189,733,000 reported by the same cities for the corresponding
week of 1920, a decrease this year of $24,006,000, or 12.7%. T he percentage decrease between the
same two dates reported by 153 important clearing house centers in the United States was 10.9%.
The Federal Reserve Board's weekly press statemet says, “ This comparatively small lag between
the figures for the corresponding weeks of this year and of the past year is apparently due to the
fact that June 30 with its large volume of payments was included in the preceding week ending June
30 in 1920 and in the week ending July 6 in 1921.”
MONTHLY CLEARINGS
No. j

1921
1. I
2.
3.
4
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
13.
14.
is.:
16.

Asheville, N. C . --------------------------- $
Baltimore, M d . _________________
Charleston, S. C. — — -----Charlotte, N. C . ______ ____ ____
Columbia, S. C . --------------------------Frederick, Md. _
_
-----Greensboro, N. C. --------------------Greenville, S. C . ------------------------Hagerstown, Md. —
----------Huntington, W . Va. _ ------ —
Newport News, V a. _ _ ------------Norfolk, Va. _ _ _ _ _
_______
Raleigh, N. C. __
------ ---------Richmond, Va. _
_ _ —
—
Spartanburg, S. C . ----------- --W ashington, D. C. _ _ _ _
Totals-----------------------------------

*Not Included in Total.




$

$

628,490,444

$

6,187,887
427,805,095
21,640,498

$

"i3>0T,539
2,489,610
6,509,809
9,707,399
3,385,469
8,080,896
3,803,075
44,934,449
6,312,246
250,755,290
4,698,417
83,369,109
893,380,788

— Denotes Decrease.

1,545,565—
120,818,036—
10,677,962—
5,958,423—
535,905—
2,048,370—
3,720,172—
775,865—
591,975—
1,408,028—
15,579,640—
1,475,273—
93,777,202—
2,506,779—
3,471,149—

1920

4,642,322
306,987,059
10,962,536
8 276,430*
7,743,116
1,953,705
4,461,439
5,987,227
2,609,604
7,488,921
2,395,047
29,354,809
4,836,973
156,978,088
2,191,638
79,897,960

Per Cent of
Increase
or
Decrease
25.0—
28.2—
49.3—
”
43~5—
21.5—
31.5—
38.3—
22.9—
7.3—
37.0—
34.7—
23.4—
37.4—
53.4—
4.2—

264,890,344—

29.7—

Increase
or
Decrease

For Month of June

C ITIE S

$

No.
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
|

The table shows clearings in June, 1921, for sixteen cities in the Fifth District, the June, 1920,
figures being available for fifteen of them. These fifteen cities show clearings in June amounting
to $628,490,444 compared with $893,380,788 cleared in June, 1920, a decrease this year of $264,890,344
or 29.7%. This is the largest percentage decrease reported for any month this year in comparison
with the corresponding month in 1920, the previous months having comparative decreases as fol­
lo w s: January, 25.3%; February, 19.4% ; March, 25.2% ; April, 24.9%, and May, 26.3%.
Figures from all of the sixteen cities are available for 1919 except Charlotte, Huntington and
Spartanburg. Comparing clearings in June, 1921, with clearings in June, 1919, a decrease this year
of 16.4% is found.
BUSINESS FAILURES IN THE TWELVE FEDERAL RESERVE DISTRICTS
Number

City and District

Liabilities

Per Cent
Increase

1921

1920

Boston, F i r s t _____________________
New York, Second---------------------Philadelphia, T h i r d ---------------------Cleveland, F o u r t h _______________
Richmond, Fifth ________________
Atlanta, S i x t h ____________________
Chicago, Seventh ----------------------St. Louis, E ig h t h ------------------------Minneapolis, N in t h --------------------Kansas City, Tenth--------------------Dallas, Eleventh ------------------------San Francisco, Twelfth------------- -

136
232
71
98
82
130
140
102
31
73
105
120

55
164
26
65
37
30
69
34
21
22
35
116

147.3
41.5
173.1
50.8
121.6
333.3
102.9
200.0
47.6
231.8
200.0
3.4

Totals_______________________

1,320

674

95.8

1920

Per Cent
Increase

1,783,684
16,218,230
219,092
975,973
314,156
459,562
2,742,755
2,283,002
306,250
281,255
278,668
7,128,338

42.8
— 70.8
785.2
386.1
370.6
666.5
63.2
— 13.5
48.4
1,594.1
829.0
— 80.2

$ 32,990,965

5.0

1921
$

2,546,879
4,736,685
1,939,408
4,744,487
1,478,512
3,522,511
4,476,283
1,974,278
454,553
4,764,647
2,588,787
1,412,345

$ 34,639,375

$

— Denotes Decrease in Total Liabilities this year.

We give herewith the usual table showing the number of failures in the twelve Federal Reserve
Districts for June, 1921 and 1920, with percentages of increase or decrease in both the number and
the aggregate liabilities involved, as reported by D u n ’ s Review. The June record for the Fifth
District is the best reported this year, both the number of failures and the total liabilities being
lower than in January, February, March, April or May. This is the second month in succession that
lower figures in both items have been reported. The table shows 82 failures in the Fifth District for
June, 1921, with liabilities of $1,478,512, compared with 37 failures during June, 1920, with liabilities
of $314,156, an increase in the number this year amounting to 121.6% and in liabilities to 370.6%.
The percentage increase in number for the United States is 95.8%, and in liabilities 5%. The June
averages for the United States, in liabilities involved, are low by reason of the excessively high
figures reported for the New York and San Francisco districts in 1920. In comparison with the
other cotton growing districts, Richmond shows the lowest percentage increase in number of fail­
ures and next to the lowest increase in liabilities over the J u n e figures of last year. The average
liability per failure for the United States is $26,242, but for the Fifth District is $18,031. Failures
and liabilities involved in the Fifth District during the first five months of the year were as follow s:
January, 142 and $3,887,908; February, 144 and $3,170,347; March, 123 and $2,918,460; April, 154 and
$3,334,591; May, 99 and $2,657,764.
COLLECTIONS.—Collection statistics received for June from thirty-nine wholesale firms selling groceries, dry goods, shoes, hardware and furniture, indicate that some improvement was seen
during the month, though the gain was slight. Of the thirty-nine reports received, thirty-eight could
be definitely classified, and of the thirty-eight, 84 per cent reported collections either Good or Fair.
The May reports from the same firms showed 81% reported as Good or Fair. The June percentage
is the highest reached this year.
A review of the first half of the year shows that from January through March collections
were increasingly difficult, but in April the reports indicated that the tide had turned, an increased
percentage being shown in the number of firms reporting collections either Good or Fair, in com­
parison with March. May showed a further gain over April, and June excelled May.
Collections in the retail trade continued satisfactory for a longer period than in the wholesale
trade, but during the past three months a decided change has been noticed in a number of reporting
stores. Three months ago we received only two complaints from twenty-five reporting retail stores,
but for the month of June five of the twenty-five stores sending in reports stated that their collec­
tions are slow, while four others reported them as not better than fair. On the whole, however, the
reports of the retail stores indicate collections to be fairly satisfactory, considering present general
conditions.




We have classified thirty-eight of the wholesale reports on collections, and print them herewith
in tabular form, together with the totals under each^group reported during the earlier months oi the
year.
Lines Sold

Collections Reported as
Good

Fair

Slow

Poor

Total

Groceries ______________________________
Dry Goods ____________________________
Boots and Shoes______________________
Hardware __ __ _______________________
Furniture ______________________________

3
1
1
2
1

4
8
5
4
3

'2
0
1
2
0

0
0
0
1
0

9
9
7
9
4

_____
June Totals _ _ _ _
M ay T o t a l s ____ _______________
April Totals _
________ _____
March Totals
_
_
.
February Totals _ _____
January Totals ________________

8
6
57
6
10

24
24
19
17
19
17

5
5
4
8
8
6

1
2
5
4
3
5

38
37
33
36
36
38.

I

LABOR.—Indications point to some slight improvement in the labor situation in the Fifth Dis­
trict during June in comparison with earlier months of the year. The strike of textile workers at
Charlotte continues, but as explained in our report last month, this is a local strike and has not spread
to other mills. The Public Employment Bureau in Richmond reports increases in demands for labor
in the building trades, and states that the demand for colored labor was f a i r 1y satisfactory at
wages ranging from 20 cents to 35 cents an hour. The chief difficulty lies in securing work for un­
skilled white labor, which group constitutes at present the bulk of the unemployed.
A number of letters received this month from business leaders in different sections of the dis­
trict state that there are plenty of applicants for all jobs, but they agree that there is little serious
unemployment.
TEXTILES.—No material changes are indicated for the month of June in reports received
from textile manufacturers. The knit goods factories report sufficient orders to keep them running
to average capacity, but there is yet little buying for future delivery. Cotton cloth manufacturers are
generally operating full time, but are accumulating some stock. The textile interests claim that no
profits are being made at present prices, and state that the}’ are operating simply to hold their labor
together.
FOODS.—The United States Department of Labor figures state that retail food prices declined
three-tenths of 1 per cent in June, thus indicating that the prices reached are tending to become stabil­
ized. The report says that the average family expenditure for food declined from May 15 to June
15 in thirty-four cities and increased in fifteen cities. In the Fifth District, Charleston, S. C., reported
a decrease of 3 per cent. In Baltimore the decrease was one per cent. In Richmond a decrease of less
than five-tenths of one per cent was reported. In Norfolk the expenditure was the same. No in­
creases were reported in the Fifth District.
As the figures given above indicate, staple food prices remained practically unchanged during
June, but special articles such as vegetables, watermelons, cantaloupes, etc., fluctuated widely in price,
the first named bringing higher prices in the face of dry weather, and the others falling as the season
advanced and shipments were made from points nearer the markets.
AGRICULTURE.— Since our last Review w s written, the Department of Agriculture has issued
its July 1 Crop Report. The report issued on this date each year is watched with great interest,
since it is the first report that carries acreage and estimated production figures for the year.
The early season estimates of acreage reduction in c o t t o n were borne o u t by the report.
Decreases are reported from all sections, the national average being 28.4% less than the 1920 acreage.
The condition of the growing crop on June 25 was 69.2% of a normal, compared with a ten-year
average of 78.8% as of the same date. The poor condition is attributed to late frosts in the spring,
the activity of the boll weevil, and a one-third reduction in fertilizer used under this year’s crop. The
reported 1921 acreage and crop condition, for the cotton states in the Fifth District, are as follows :
Acreage
South Carolina ___________________________________________________________________________ 2,190,000
North Carolina ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1,186,000
Virginia ___________________________________________________________________________________
28,000




, Condition
65%
67%
70%

The estimated production for the Fifth District is 1,416,000 bales compared with 2,389,000 bales
grown in 1920, and the nation’s production is estimated at 8,433,000 bales compared with 12,987,000
bales in 192*0. The estimated production this year is the lowest since 1895, and the acreage planted
the smallest since 1900.
The outlook for tobacco is similar to that for cotton, a decided reduction in both acreage and
probable production being reported. For the United States, the condition of the crop on July 1 was
71.9% of a normal, with an expected yield of 932,000,000 pounds compared with a yield of 1,508,064,000
pounds for 1920 and a five-year average of 1,272,000,000 pounds. The S o u t h Carolina acreage was
reduced less than that of North Carolina or Virginia, and the condition of the crop in the first named
state also appears somewhat better, though not more than a fair yield is indicated at best. The Vir­
ginia acreage is 165,000 compared with 243,000 acres last year, a reduction this year of 32%. The
condition of the growing crop on July 1 was very poor, being 66% of a normal compared with 87 % on
the same date last year and a ten-year average of 82%. However, except in S o u t h Carolina, it is
possible that favorable weather for the rest of the season may materially alter estimated yields. The
South Carolina crop is made, and the markets will open before the end of July.
Early season reports of frost damage to fruit have been confirmed by later bulletins. The
commercial apple crop for Maryland is estimated at 99,000 barrels compared with 511,000 barrels in
1920. Virginia's crop is estimated at 225,000 barrels compared with 2,636,000 barrels last year. West
Virginia's probable yield is given as 142,000 barrels compared with 1,167,000 barrels in 1920. The total
commercial apple crop for the United States is estimated at 17,700,000 barrels compared with 36,300,000 barrels last year. The peach crop is likewise short, estimates being for Maryland 78,000 bushels
compared with 897,000 bushels last year; Virginia 73,000 bushels compared with 1,470,000 bushels
last year, and West Virginia 86,000 bushels compared with 992,000 bushels last year. The total peach
crop for the United States is estimated at 30,800,000 bushels compared with 43,700,000 bushels in
1920.
Probable production figures for some other leading crops in the Fifth District, compared with
1920 yields, are as follows :

Corn (bushel) ___________________________________________________________________
W h eat (bushel) _______ ________ ________________________________________________
Oats (b u sh e l)____________________________________________________________________
Hay (tons) _________ _____________________________________________________________

Forecast
1921
182,064,000
29,942,000
25,471,000
4,417,000

Production
1920
202,850,000
36,871,000
25,626,000
4,751,000

Favorable weather early in July in sections of the District improved the general agricultural
outlook, and indicates somewhat better yields than the July 1 estimates.
BUILDING MATERIALS.—In spite of a continuance of improvement in construction work,
building material dealers are not enthusiastic, and report unsatisfactory business during June. They
state that competition in the trade has taken all the profits out of their business, and that present
freight charges are a serious handicap. Buyers are carefully hunting bargains, and are buying only
when prices are made attractive. Dealers report prices still tending lower. Other users of lumber,
such as box manufacturers, report dull business, and state that the general depression in industry
lowers the demand for boxes which is naturally reflected back to them and to lumber manufacturers.
The stone dealers appear to be more nearly holding their own than the lumber dealers, one of the
largest quarries in the District reporting a decided improvement during the past six weeks, though
they write that even now their business is only about half the normal volume for this season of the
year.




BUILDING OPERATIONS FOR THE MONTHS OF JUNE, 1921 AND 1920
Permits Issued
New Construction
CITIES
o

1921 1920

fc
M aryland
1 Baltimore.................
2 Cumberland..............
3 Frederick..................
V irginia
4 Lynchburg................
5 Norfolk.....................
6 Richmond.................
7 Roanoke
. ..
8 Staunton...................
West V irginia
9 C harleston..............
10 Huntington
11 Parkersburg .........
N orth Carolina
12 Asheville ................
13 Charlotte..................
14 D urham ...................
15 Greensboro .............
16 High Point................
17 Wilmington..............
18 Winston-Salem..........
South Carolina
19 Charleston................
20 Columbia..................
21 Greenville.................
22 Spartanburg..............
D ist. of Columbia
23 Washington..............

Alterations

Repairs

New

1921

1921

1920

1920

1921

1920

Increase or Per Cent,
of
Decrease,
Total
Increase
Valuation
or
o
Decrease £

496
36
5

429 1,449 1,326 $2,608,880 $2,060, 380 $ 721,800 $ 397,800 $ 872,500
24
186,325
9,550
24, 845
54,785—
146,835
43
31
2
17,290
8,300
2,600
6,390
3

13
55
137
♦150
5

7
31
54
*81
2

10
53
107

6
39
102

1

1

107
*139

36
*101

25

16

1
35.5
25.9— 2
3
58.6

15,200
325,458
180,645
290,995
26,715—

55.2
187.4
25.4
329.4
93.4—

286,550
127,815—
5,000

9
345.9
39.2— 10
4.5 11

29,094

12,834
109,570—
7,640—
173,238
147,546—
2,400
38,587—

6.3
56.3—
10.7—
148.4
82.0—
2.7
18.1—

78, 308
27, 427
168, 405—
42,990—

92.7 19
44.6 20
55.8— 21
55.7— 22

584,575

43.5

Totals........... 1670 1,100 2,531 2,188 $7,544, 278 $5,938,359 $1,755,034 $1,223, 486 $2,137, 467

29.8

30,400
458, 650
742,824
*379,325
1,635

23,650
139, 760
511,076
*88,330
25,600

12,350
40,483
147,665

3,900
33,915
198,768

250

3,000

336,061
*198,455
70,000

75,970
*326,270
70,000

33,339

6,880

45,000

40,000

190,578
192,170
33,700
91,475
*179,895
73,200
183,875

55,862
5,500
650
49,150
2,669
5,500
31,807

12,000
2,400
37,440
25,280

46
21
16
28
14
13
46

34
19
8
18
*25
16
44

85
8
2
12
7
3
75

22

7
69

159,550
79,500
62,850
240,843
29, 680
85,000
142,575

28
38
22
24

20
7
13
22

24
91
27
21

7
69
24
11

137,025
75,900
119,200
27,945

77,517
32,500
279,500
67,610

25,800
13,074
14,065
6,240

7,000
29,047
22,170
9,565

231

88

500

432 1,393, 855

1,020,678

534,280

322,882

4

12
14

i4,9oo

4

5
6
7
8

12
13
14
15
16
17
18

23

= J

•Includes both new and repairs.

— Denotes decrease.

Permits for construction work issued by building inspectors in twenty-three of the leading cities
of the Fifth District show continued activity in June. Permits for new buildings in June totaled 1,670,
in comparison with 1,100 permits for new construction issued in June, 1920, an increase of 570, or
51.8% this year, the estimated valuation being $7,544,278 in June, 1921, as compared with $5,938,359
in June, 1920, an increase of $1,605,919, or 27%. For repairs and alterations 2,531 permits were issued
in June, 1921, in comparison with 2,188 in June, 1920, estimated valuation being $1,755,034 and $1,223,486, respectively, showing an increase in June, 1921, of 15.7% in number of permits and of 43.3% in
estimated costs. Combined permits for both new work and repairs or alterations totaled 4,201 for
June, 1921, valued at $9,299,312, compared with 3,288 permits for June, 1920, valued at $7,161,845, an
improvement for this year of 27.8% in number of permits and 29.8% in total valuation. It should
be mentioned that some of the permits issued call for several buildings, as in the case of rows o f
houses built practically alike being included in one permit. For example, the 137 permits for new
work in Richmond during June provided for 163 buildings, of which 80 are to be residences.
A review of the first half of 1921, compared with the first six months of 1920, shows a healthy
increase in number of permits issued this year for new work, the total number issued from January
1 through June being 8,273 compared with 7,648 issued last year during the same period. In total
valuation, however, the estimated costs for 1921 are slightly lower than during the first half of 1920,
but it should be remembered that building costs have been considerably reduced from the top prices
of last year. Total valuation for the first six months of 1921 in the twenty-three reporting cities, for
new construction alone, amounted to $44,246,422, compared with $46,601,498 reported for the cor­
responding period in 1920.




FIGURES ON RETAIL TRADE
As Indicated by Reports from Twenty-five Department Stores in the Fifth Reserve District
for the First Six Months of 1921
Percentage o f increase (o r decrease) in net sales during the month named, 1921,over same month last year:
Baltimore -------------------------------------------------------------------Richmond ____________________________________________
Washington __________________________________________
Other C itie s __________________________________________
District Average ______________________________

January
4.1
— 4.2
9.3
4.0
5.4

February
5.3
14.2
8.4
17.9
8.9

March
— 2.2
4.6
5.5
9.4
2.6

April
— 6.8
3.1
5.3
3.7
— 0.7

M ay
— 7.1
— 3.0
4.3
— 5.2
— 3.0

June
— 7.0
— 4.1
4.9
— 3.1
— 4.2

Percentage o f increase (o r decrease) in net sales from January 1st, through month named, 1921, over net
sales during same period last year.
Baltimore _____________ _______________________________
Richmond ____________________________________________
Washington __________________________________________
Other C itie s __________________________________________
District Average ______________________________

January
4.1
— 4.2
9.3
4.0
5.4

February
4.6
4.2
8.8
11.8
6.8

March
1.9
4.3
7.4
10.8
5.1

April
— 0.6
4.9
6.9
8.7
3.6

M ay
— 2.0
3.2
6.3
5.4
2.1

June
— 2.9
1.8
4.9
3.7
0.9

Percentage o f increase (o r decrease) in net sales during themonth named, 1921, over net sales during the
immediately preceding month this year:
Baltimore ____________________________________________
Richmond ____________________________________________
Washington __________________________________________
Other Cities __________________________________________
District Average ______________________________

January
____
____
____
____
____

February
— 16.7
— 1.2
— 1.4
8.2
— 3.1

March
41.8
38.9
40.2
46.8
41.6

April
— 7.7
— 10.5
— 10.3
— 6.5
— 8.7

M ay
— 2.0
— 4.3
0.1
— 1.0
— 1.4

June
1.7
10.2
6.3
— 2.9
4.3

Percentage o f increase (o r decrease) in stocks at close o f month named, 1921,over stocks at same date
last year:
Baltimore ____________________________________________
Richmond ____________________________________________
Washington __________________________________________
Other Cities __________________________________________
District Average ______________________________

January
— 19.1
— 9.6
— 28.6
— 10.4
— 22.2

February
— 24.0
— 13.1
— 29.9
— 20.3
— 24.6

March
— 28.2
— 16.1
— 26.2
— 22.6
— 25.6

April
— 26.0
— 13.6
— 29.0
— 23.3
— 25.8

M ay
— 25.3
— 14.6
— 29.2
— 24.2
— 25.8

June
— 24.2
— 14.2
— 27.5
— 21.0
— 24.2

Percentage o f increase (o r decrease) in stocks at close o f the month named, 1921, over stocks at close o f p re­
ceding month this year:
Baltimore ____________________________________________
Richmond ____________________________________________
Washington __________________________________________
Other Cities __________________________________________
District Average ______________________________

January
— 9.1
— 15.2
— 18.7
— 23.6
— 16.2

February
6.9
7.7
9.8
13.8
9.0

March
8.8
11.4
7.1
10.1
8.7

April
3.6
4.3
5.7
3.0
4.2

M ay
— 3.1
— 0.2
— 0.5
— 1.7
— 1.7

Percentage o f average stocks at close o f each month since January 1st,to average monthly net sales
the same period:
Baltimore ____________________________________________
R ic h m o n d ___________________________________________
Washington __________________________________________
Other Cities __________________________________________
District Average ______________________________

January
302.6
403.5
351.2
407.1
344.5

February
341.6
403.1
370.9
432.2
368.6

March
324.5
395.8
341.3
402.2
346.9

April
327.1
355.9
344.1
400.5
345.3

M ay
327.9
358.5
345.3
394.6
345.6

June
— 6.6
— 2.2
— 2.8
— 1.2
— 4.1

during
June
323.7
350.8
340.6
391.7
341.3

Percentage o f outstanding orders at the end o f month named, 1921, to totalpurchases o f merchandise
during 1920:
Baltimore ____________________________________________
Richmond ____________________________________________
Washington __________________________________________
Other Cities _______________________________ - __________
District Average ______________________________

January
7.2
5.4
3.9
5.4
6.0

February
7.9
6.1
4.8
6.1
6.6

March
6.5
4.9
4.2
4.4
5.3

April
6.1
4.6
4.8
5.1
5.4

M ay
5.4
7.2
6.8
6.6
5.6

June
7.9
10.7
7.7
8.9
8.3

— Denotes decrease.

We publish herewith a table showing developments in retail trade in twenty-five of the District’s
chief department stores for the first half of 1921 in comparison with trade in the same stores during
the corresponding period of 1920.
An examination of the figures shows a remarkable holding up of retail purchasing. In spite
of the fact that business was at its crest during the first half of 1920, the actual dollar value of sales
made in the reporting stores from January through June this year was nine-tenths of 1 per cent,
greater than sales in the same stores during the first six months of last year. In view of lower prices
prevailing this season, a much larger volume of sales in units of merchandise sold is indicated by the
figures for this year.




In stocks carried, the stores have had on their shelves an average of 24.2% less goods in dollar
value than they carried last year. This has given a more rapid turn-over than the stores got during
the first half of 1920, as shown by a percentage of 341.3% of average stocks on hand each month
this year to net sales during the same months, compared with an average of 407.0% reported during
the first half of 1920.
The gradual increase in the percentage of outstanding orders for merchandise to total pur­
chases during 1920 would seem to indicate a growing tendency to place orders for seasonal needs, thus,
indicating a slow but steady growth of confidence in the general business situation.
REPORT ON WHOLESALE TRADE
Net Sales in June, 1921, Compared W ith

L IN E S SO LD

Sales in May, 1921
Groceries (9)*
_
D ry Goods (9)*
_
_
Boots and Shoes (8)* _
Hardware ( 9 ) * __
Furniture (4)*
Total Averages

- _ - __ _

(39)*

-

-

____
__-

- ___________

Sales in June, 1920

2.9
1.3
15.2
— .9
— 2.5

— 42.5
— 46.0
— 31.3
— 32.4
— 42.2

3.5

— 40.4

*Number of reporting firms.

The table above shows in percentage form the increase or decrease in the dollar value of sales
made by thirty-nine wholesale firms during June, 1921, in comparison with (1) sales made during
May, 1921, and~ (2) sales made during June, 1920. All Lines register decreases in comparison with June,,
1920, but groceries, dry goods and shoes improved over the May business.
Among the reporting lines, groceries show less important fluctuations from month to month, a
natural condition in view of the absolute necessity of eating. Grocery prices appear to be more stable
than prices in other lines, but seven of the nine reporting firms state that prices are gradually work­
ing lower. There is no disposition on the part of retailers to buy ahead further than is absolutely
necessary, the rapidity of turn-over being kept constantly in mind. Freight rates are reported as a
serious problem in the handling of heavy groceries and seasonal truck.
Nine dry goods wholesalers and jobbers are on the whole optimistic as to further prospects in
their business, and some of them report, for the first time in months, the receipt of scattered orders
for future delivery. Opinion among them is divided in the matter of prices, but the majority opinion
is that most items have about reached bottom, though a few lines have not yet reached their proper
level in comparison with the general average of dry goods prices. One of the reporting firms writes
that a questionnaire sent to the Fifth Division members of the Southern Wholesale Dry Goods Asso­
ciation brought out the fact that sales of the reporting firms, for the first half of 1921 averaged 75.71%
of sales during the corresponding period last year. The same firms estimated their probable volume
of business for the second half of 1921 at 87% of their fall business done in 1920.
Eight shoe jobbers or manufacturers sent us reports for June. Of these, six state that prices
are stationary, but two think they will go lower. One firm reports good business in the cheaper
grades, another reports a decided slackening in the recent demand for canvas and sport shoes, and
several report that retailers are buying in small lots for quick turn-over, there being no inclination
to make commitments longer than 60 days ahead.
Reports were received this month from nine hardware jobbers, eight of whom expect lower prices
in their wares, the other firm not mentioning this phase of the subject. The hardware dealers arenot optimistic, and appear to think that their volume of business may be further reduced before con­
ditions show improvement. Business in farming implements has been, and still is, very dull, farmers
patching up their old machinery and tools in every possible way before buying new goods.
Three of the four furniture factories reporting this month expect lower prices, the other one
believing that the bottom has been reached. The furniture business has been one of the chief suf­
ferers since the wide-spread business depression set in last summer, and while some business has been
secured, the manufacturers claim that it has brought them no profit. Most of the orders have been
filled from reserve stocks accumulated last fall, and many of the factories have been closed entirely,
or have been running very irregularly, since the first of the year. A few orders for future delivery
are now being taken, however, and the trade is hopeful for improved business during the fall season.
The first half of 1921 has been very trying to wholesale firms and jobbers in all lines. Business
has been good and bad by turns, and dealers have been at a loss to know how to plan ahead. Reports
have varied, sometimes from the same firms, from optimism to pessimism as business fluctuated up>
or down during the spring and early summer, but generally it seems fair to state that some progress
is being made. The reports received indicate a wide-spread feeling that future developments will be
favorable.




(Compiled July 15, 1921)


Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, One Federal Reserve Bank Plaza, St. Louis, MO 63102