West Coast Ports – What’s Next for Retailers?

Last weekend, the labor dispute between the Pacific Maritime Association International Longshore and Warehouse Union, which has slowed the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports for several months and crippled them in the past few weeks, came to a close with an inked five-year labor deal. The deal was hard-fought, with pressure from the nation’s largest retail and manufacturing associations, as well as the Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez, who met with parties last week and threatened to send them to Washington if they couldn’t resolve their issues quickly. Continue reading

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Retail CFOs Optimistic about 2015 Sales and Consumer Confidence

With solid sales gains at the end of 2014, retail chief financial officers are feeling upbeat about sales and consumer confidence in the year ahead. Preliminary results from our 2015 BDO Retail Compass Survey of CFOs show that retailers forecast a 3.9 percent increase in total sales and a 3.7 percent increase in comparable store sales this year, in line with the recently released National Retail Federation (NRF) projections of a 4.1 percent increase in sales for 2015. What’s more, nearly two-in-three CFOs surveyed expect comparable store sales to increase.  Continue reading

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Private Equity & Retail: A 2015 Outlook

Our recent Sixth Annual PErspective Private Equity study found that when it comes to new investment opportunities, the private equity community may continue to temper their expectations for consumer business deal flow this year. Continue reading

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Results from Reader Survey: How Will 100 Retail CFOs Feel about 2015?

Last week, we asked you, our readers, to share your expectations regarding results from our ninth annual Retail Compass Survey of CFOs. Before we release the first round of survey results next week, we’d like to share with you the responses from the reader survey.

This year, you offered an optimistic outlook on 2015 sales projections, which isn’t surprising considering the solid gains retailers saw at the end of 2014, along with ongoing growth in consumer confidence levels. Speaking of, you predicted that when it comes to consumer confidence, CFOs will be most concerned about the impact of fuel prices and financial market volatility—both of which are no doubt top of mind for retailers, analysts and consumers alike as we move through Q1. Finally, as news of Staples’ merger with Office Depot breaks, CFOs are in tune with the effects of further industry consolidation. A majority (53 percent) of you predicted that retail CFOs will expect M&A activity to increase this year. Continue reading

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Understanding the Electronic Payments Alphabet – Part Two: The Impending EMV Deadline

Last month, in part one of my series on electronic payment technologies, I briefly discussed Europay, MasterCard and Visa (EMV), the new method for issuing and accepting face-to-face card transactions that aims to reduce credit card fraud. While the technology and its many benefits should be top of mind for businesses, perhaps even more important is the approaching deadline that U.S. retailers face regarding their payment systems.

Beginning October 1, 2015, when any credit card fraud takes place, the liability for fraud will fall on the least EMV-compliant party (be it the merchant or card issuer). Therefore, to avoid a potentially significant increase in their liability, face-to-face retailers will need to have payment terminals and systems in place that are capable of reading and processing EMV card transactions. Continue reading

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Reader Survey: Which Issues are Top of Mind for Retailers in 2015?

After rounding out 2014 with strong year-end sales and consumer confidence levels reaching a notable high of 92.6 on the Conference Board Index in December, retailers are now wondering whether this positive momentum will continue as they prepare for the year ahead.

We are in the process of conducting our ninth annual Retail Compass Survey of CFOs, in which we poll 100 retail CFOs to gather their insights into the key issues that will impact retailers’ performance in 2015. What do you think their expectations will be for the year ahead? Take our quick reader survey below to let us know, and we’ll share the results in a follow-up post next week. In the meantime, stay tuned for this year’s full survey data, which will be released in February. Continue reading

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2015 Retail IPO Outlook

This week, the President said that the economy has officially recovered, and we have “turned the page” on the downtown. If the U.S. IPO market is any indicator, he’s right. 2014 marked yet another strong year for the U.S. IPO market with Renaissance Capital reporting 273 IPOs across all industries last year, up 23 percent from 2013. Proceeds reached $85 billion, buoyed by Alibaba’s $22 billion offering. Beyond Alibaba, Healthcare and Biotechnology was a clear bright spot, with the number of IPOs nearly doubling from 2013 levels.   Continue reading

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Year-In-Review: 2014 Sales and Consumer Confidence

With the New Year upon us, retailers are assessing the industry’s performance in 2014 and looking to prepare for what lies ahead. After 2013 delivered light gains, 2014, too, remained largely stable with only light growth from Q1 through the back-to-school season.  Consumers spent modestly until early on in Q4, when they and retailers alike began to express growing optimism in the economy. As unemployment rates hit pre-recession levels and gas prices dropped to new lows, consumer confidence levels also reached notable highs, helping to spur solid end-of-year growth.  Continue reading

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EMV, NFC, AAPL and MCX: Understanding the Electronic Payments Alphabet

This year has brought a surge in interest around electronic payments—both from retailers and consumers. With Apple’s rollout of Apple Pay earlier this fall, these technologies were suddenly launched into the public spotlight, prompting fascination around their ease of use and casting speculation around their perceived security. But Apple Pay is hardly alone. There are a number of new and evolving electronics payment technologies being employed, and understanding their unique advantages and intended uses can arm retailers with increased security of their point-of-sale (POS) systems, reduce instances of credit card fraud and, ultimately, lower costs. With that in mind, here’s an explanation of what’s coming:  Continue reading

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Happy Holidays – Top Posts of 2014

On behalf of the Retail & Consumer Products practice at BDO, we hope you’ve enjoyed reading the blog this year. As we head into 2015, we want to wish all of our readers a happy holiday season and a joyful start to the New Year. We look forward to keeping you abreast of industry matters in the weeks and months ahead. In the meantime, here’s a quick look back at our top posts from 2014, in case you missed them:

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