WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Retailers in 2011 will be intent on actively growing their businesses and improving customer insight capabilities, in addition to continuing efforts begun during the economic downturn to stabilize operating costs and focus on financial discipline, according to a report from the National Retail Federation’s research and education arm, the NRF Foundation, and KPMG LLP, the U.S. audit, tax and advisory firm.
In surveying 318 retail executives for the ninth annual Retail Horizons: Benchmarks for 2010, Forecasts for 2011 report, 41 percent said that their companies intend to increase domestic store expansions in 2011, up from 25 percent in 2010. Additionally, 25 percent will expand overseas, up from 21 percent a year ago.
Signaling an overall consensus that the worst is behind them, 58 percent of retailers surveyed report that cost reduction/cost containment will remain a companywide strategic initiative, down from 81 percent in 2010. The survey also found that retailers are signaling that mobile e-commerce or m-commerce will be a top focus. In fact, 69 percent identify this as a strategic initiative, up considerably from 28 percent a year ago.
“It’s quite obvious retailers are anxious to put the recession behind them and build upon their customer service initiatives, enhance their mobile platforms and even grow their footprint,” said Katherine Mance, Executive Director, NRF Foundation. “As we move forward in 2011, retailers will strive to keep costs low, but will also continue to focus on providing positive and unique shopping experiences for their customers. This year’s report paints an encouraging picture of the coming year for both retailers and consumers.”
Mark Larson, partner in charge of KPMG’s retail group, said that “these findings dramatically demonstrate that retail expansion is back on the agenda.”
“After several years of belt tightening, retailers are also ready to begin experimenting again with new brick and mortar concepts, hoping to appeal to shoppers interested in buying discretionary items once again,” said Larson. “They will, however, move ahead with cost discipline in mind.”
Other survey highlights from the Retail Horizons: Benchmarks for 2010, Forecasts for 2011 report, include:
- With significant changes in customer shopping behaviors, three-quarters (74 percent) of retailers in 2011 will increase their consumer insight and data gathering initiatives (up from 65 percent in 2010).
- While 56 percent of retailers surveyed in 2010 said customer service would be a top priority; fully three-quarters (75 percent) said it would be in 2011.
- The number of retailers who report using Twitter jumped from 61 percent in 2009 to 79 percent in 2010, with an additional 18 percent planning on using the social networking site for their e-commerce program during the next 18 months.
- In reviewing customer insight initiatives, 78 percent of the execs ranked customer loyalty programs first, up from 65 percent a year ago.
- 80 percent of retailers surveyed said leadership development will be a top priority in 2011, up from 69 percent in 2010.
- Among supply chain initiatives, greater focus will be made for optimizing the distribution network, increasing from 38 percent in 2010 to 52 percent in 2011, and for cross-docking, up from 17 percent to 24 percent.
About the Survey
The ninth annual Retail Horizons: Benchmarks for 2010, Forecasts for 2011 report released by the NRF Foundation and KPMG LLP, examines benchmarks for the retail industry, reports retailers’ key business priorities and plans, and tracks established and emerging retail trends. The executives responding represent 135 North American retail companies, from a range of business classifications, from general retails segments, such as department and specialty, to supermarkets, restaurants and online companies.
About KPMG LLP
KPMG LLP, the audit, tax and advisory firm (www.us.kpmg.com), is the U.S. member firm of KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International.”) KPMG International’s member firms have 140,000 professionals, including more than 7,900 partners, in 146 countries.
About NRF Foundation
The NRF Foundation is the research and education arm of the National Retail Federation. A non-profit foundation created in 1981, the Foundation conducts industry research, develops education and workforce development programs, professional certification programs and promotes retailing as a career destination. The NRF Foundation benefits retailers, their associates and business partners and allies, and consumers in many ways. Research provides the basis for education about the industry and its importance to the economy, and provides industry and government leaders with an analysis of public policy decisions on consumers, retailers, and the economy. The Foundation’s education and career development efforts, including NRF University wired, encourage professional development and excellence in performance of retailing for associates and executives at all levels.
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