Ross Stores saw "pack-away" goods—those it buys and warehouses for six or more months—increase to 47% of consolidated inventories in February from 33% a year earlier. The company, which operates two off-price retail chains, also shaved its in-store inventories to run its business more efficiently. Both strategies will prove advantageous if inflation picks up, which seems likely given rising commodity prices and higher interest rates as governments seek to pay down enormous public debt. Hawaiian Airlines, which survived the 2008 spike in fuel prices, has also instituted a variety of policies to mitigate inflation.

Peter Ingram, CFO and treasurer of the Honolulu-based airline since 2005, says the company has implemented both operational and financial hedging strategies to smooth volatile fuel costs.

Ingram notes that airlines expect the aircraft they buy―enormous capital investments―to generate returns over extended periods, such as 25 years. Sudden leaps in the price of fuel, which comprises about 30% of Hawaiian Airlines' expenses, can impact its ability to cover its costs related to acquisitions and remain in the black on a quarter-by-quarter basis.

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