Published on February 27, 2014
IN ASSOCIATION WITH: Retail Outlook: THE HOLIDAYS AND 2014 A few prominent retailers may be facing more structural challenges than they’d like. And holiday retail forecasts from various outlets may be a mixed bag, pointing to neither strength nor weakness for the industry at large. But middle market retailers as a whole are largely upbeat about their prospects, both for the coming holidays and the coming year. Seeking greater insight into the conditions and outlook for the industry, Forbes Insights, in association with CIT (NYSE: CIT), a leader in financing and advisory services to the retail sector, conducted an October 2013 survey. With analysis stemming from the responses of 208 senior, U.S.-based middle market retail executives, the survey reveals that: • etailers are split on whether or not an economic R recovery is here – or under way • onetheless, for both the holidays and the coming N year, the industry expects growth • iddle market retail executives see an array of both M positive and negative economic drivers • xecutives believe an industry giant (or two) may E stumble, but most believe their own brands still appeal to consumers • mid staffing increases, average per-employee hours A are declining • etailers face both challenges and opportunities in R the online, mobile and social media realms 1 | CIT: Retail Outlook
IN ASSOCIATION WITH: Retail Outlook: THE HOLIDAYS AND 2014 THE MOST ADMIRED – AND FEARED – RETAILERS Respondents name Amazon, Nordstrom, Apple, Wal-Mart, Costco, Target and Macy’s as their most admired retailers. As for most disruptive retailers, Amazon is again the most frequently cited, followed by Wal-Mart. Less well-known nominations include Freshdirect.com (foods), Speedway (convenience stores) and Zappos.com (shoes/apparel). ? RETAILERS ARE SPLIT ON THE STATE OF THE ECONOMY • 5% see the middle class shifting its preference from premium to lower-price products 4 • ust under half believe an economic recovery is either already here or well under way J • ust over half say the recovery won’t materialize until later, relatively evenly split between J “sometime in 2014,” “sometime in 2015” or still “not in sight” • 1% see evidence of an uneven recovery, favoring the well-to-do more so than middle- or 6 lower-income consumers POSITIVE OUTLOOK FOR THE HOLIDAYS AND 2014 • wo-thirds believe 2013 holiday sales will increase relative to 2012 T • bout one-third expect holiday sales to increase by 6% or more – 9% anticipate growth of A 10% or more • ust over one in 10 anticipates lower declining year-on-year holiday sales J • hree-quarters forecast revenue growth for the whole of the coming year – 42% saying T such growth will exceed 10% ECONOMIC DRIVERS ARE BOTH PUSHING AND PULLING • 6% say improving consumer confidence is having a positive impact on sales 5 • ver a third believe relative highs in major investment indices are having a positive O impact on sales • ut 64% say high unemployment and 53% say economic uncertainty B are both harming sales • nother 44% say higher payroll taxes are harming sales A 2 | CIT: Retail Outlook
IN ASSOCIATION WITH: Retail Outlook: THE HOLIDAYS AND 2014 AN INDUSTRY GIANT (OR TWO) MAY STUMBLE • even out of 10 report their own financial condition to be healthy – 27% of these saying S “very” healthy • early half, however, believe the consumer appeal and overall brand value of a number of N prominent retailers is in decline – with 68% expecting one or more prominent retailers will likely disappear in the next one to three years • ver one-quarter note that online and mobile business models are proving disruptive to O their businesses • 8% say that at least one of their retailing brands is underperforming, and 32% say that 3 their business model is in need of significant updating AMID STAFFING INCREASES, DECLINING HOURS • he number of hourly workers is rising at 40% of retailers T • 6% also report that the total number of hours being worked by these employees 2 is decreasing, while only 21% report an increase – indicating that more individual employees may be working fewer hours • ne-third say they are hiring more part-time workers limited to working 30 O hours or less • One-quarter say they are reducing the schedules of existing employees to 30 hours or less ONLINE, MOBILE AND SOCIAL MEDIA OFFER CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES • inding a way to use social media to drive sales is a challenge for 58% of retailers – though F 13% are also struggling to find workers with appropriate social media skills and experience • 2% view online and mobile channels as a significant challenge to their brands and 4 business models – though 40% believe they are holding their own • nly 18% believe their brand works well enough in the online and mobile worlds to O outperform competitors • ust under half view social media as important to their business strategy – 17% of J these saying “very” important 3 | CIT: Retail Outlook
About CIT About Forbes Insights Forbes Insights is the strategic research and thought leadership practice of Forbes Media, publisher of Forbes magazine and Forbes.com, whose combined media properties reach nearly 50 million business decision makers worldwide on a monthly basis. Taking advantage of a proprietary database of senior-level executives in the Forbes community, Forbes Insights conducts research on a host of topics of interest to C-level executives, senior marketing professionals, small business owners and those who aspire to positions of leadership, as well as providing deep insights into issues and trends surrounding wealth creation and wealth management. Bruce Rogers Chief Insights Officer Brenna Sniderman Founded in 1908, CIT (NYSE: CIT) is a financial holding company with more than $35 billion in financing and leasing assets. It provides financing, leasing and advisory services to its clients and their customers across more than 30 industries. CIT maintains leadership positions in middle market lending, factoring, retail finance, aerospace, equipment and rail leasing, and vendor finance. CIT operates CIT Bank (Member FDIC), its primary bank subsidiary, which, through its Internet bank BankOnCIT.com, offers a suite of savings options designed to help customers achieve a range of financial goals. www.cit.com/perspectives To subscribe to the CIT Perspectives Newsletter, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. CIT Press Inquiries Curt Ritter Director of Corporate Communications email@example.com Matt Klein Vice President, Media Relations firstname.lastname@example.org Senior Director CIT Business Inquiries Hugo Moreno Dan Infanti Editorial Director Brian McLeod manager, North America Lawrence Bowden manager, emea Senior Vice President, Marketing and Advertising email@example.com David Fields Assistant Vice President, Marketing firstname.lastname@example.org Curtis Bergh DEPUTY DIRECTOR, APAC William Millar Report Author Kevin Adkins ArT Director IN ASSOCIATION WITH: 60 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10011 | 212.366.8890 | www.forbes.com/forbesinsights
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