Infographic & Full Report: 2014 BDO Retail Compass Survey of CMOs

In our ninth annual Retail Compass Survey of CMOs, we asked 100 chief marketing officers at leading U.S. retailers about their sales projections, marketing strategies and top challenges ahead of the 2014 holiday shopping season. While there are two weeks before the official end of the holiday season, several of the trends that we found in this year’s data have already played out across the industry over the past month and a half.  Continue reading

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This Holiday Season, a Gift in the Form of R&D Tax Credits

In 2011, U.S. businesses reported more than $12 billion in federal and state tax credits for their investments in attempts to develop or improve products, processes and software.

Contrary to popular belief, companies don’t have to be in the pharma or tech industry to qualify for research and development (R&D) tax credits. Retailers across industries stand to benefit significantly from recent events that have made the credit even more attractive.  Continue reading

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Thanksgiving Weekend Loses Steam…and Allure?

Over the past few weeks, we’ve written extensively about the evolutionary shifts in holiday shopping that have been solidified during the early stages of the 2014 season. But last week, Thanksgiving Weekend provided the affirmation. Sales over the four-day stretch fell by 11 percent this year, according to the National Retail Federation. In fact, the NRF found that only 133.7 million people braved the crowds this year over the weekend, a 5.2 percent drop compared to last year, and average spending also fell 10.2 percent year-over-year.  Continue reading

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Retailers Home in on Digital Strategies this Holiday Season: Mobile Booms, Cybersecurity Looms

Coming off the heels of a modest but successful Cyber Monday, and with reports of increased online sales over Thanksgiving Weekend, we just released the final round of results from our ninth annual Retail Compass Survey of CMOs, which suggests that retailers will remain focused on all things digital as we head into December.  Continue reading

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Retailing’s Hard Lessons: Curtailing Debit Card Fraud

Earlier this fall, a national credit card processor relayed a noteworthy instance of pre-paid debit card fraud to us—one that could target and damage numerous retailers across the U.S. at any given time. Over the summer, a small retailer had someone gain access to their stand-alone credit card terminal, which was not password protected.  That person used an anonymous, reloadable pre-paid debit card (i.e., the type purchased at a gas station) to issue themselves a card refund in a very large amount. Continue reading

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Retailers Modest about Thanksgiving Weekend as Holiday Promotions Get a Jumpstart

Holiday creep? This year, we’re seeing a full-on holiday leap. Instead of Thanksgiving Weekend ceremoniously ushering in the full onslaught of the holiday shopping season, a new normal has taken root, and retailers have been out in front of shoppers earlier and more often this year. In fact, according to our 2014 Retail Compass Survey of CMOs, over one-third (34 percent) of retailers say they will have already run most of their holiday promotions by the time consumers are sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner.  Continue reading

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Retail Executive Compensation Remains Mired as CEO and CFO Pay Increases Across Other Industries

We recently published our fourth annual BDO 600 CEO and CFO Pay Study, and the findings were rather notable for the retail sector. As has been a trend over the last several years, in roughly half of the industries analyzed, the percentage increase for middle market CEO compensation exceeded that of CFO compensation. However, the retail industry was a unique case this year: it was the only sector in which CEO and CFO pay decreased. While retail CEO pay declined 1 percent in FY 2012, it dropped again by 4 percent in FY 2013. To note, retail and healthcare were the only industries in which CEO pay experienced negative growth. At the same time, retail CFO pay, which increased by 6 percent in FY 2012, fell by a substantial 11 percent in FY 2013—the largest decline across all eight industries that were analyzed. Overall, retail CFOs made 31 percent of what retail CEOs did—the lowest percentage among all sectors.  Continue reading

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Retailers Expect Modest Gains this Holiday Season

The results are in from our ninth annual Retail Compass Survey of CMOs, in which we surveyed 100 retail chief marketing officers to gauge their 2014 holiday shopping season expectations. As it turns out, even after a challenging and unpredictable sales environment in the first half of 2014, and on the heels of drab back-to-school sales, retailers still maintain a positive outlook on the eve of the holiday season. Continue reading

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What We’re Reading This Week: Has the 2014 Holiday Season Begun?

Has the holiday shopping season already begun? It depends who you ask. “Christmas creep,” as the early autumnal advance of festive products and feisty consumers has ruefully come to be known, has already stolen headlines this fall. In fact, PayPal, which claims to handle $1 in every $6 of total e-commerce transactions, reported a spike in holiday-related sales as early as September 30. Initial indications also point to healthy activity and momentum in October sales.  Continue reading

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The Millennial Lowdown: How this Up-and-Coming Consumer Group Is Changing the Game for Retailers

As Millennials emerge as the next consumer generation, retailers are recognizing that this large, connected and tech-savvy demographic will continue to grow as a driving force in the economy during the decade ahead. In fact, they have already put an impressive stake in the ground. As my colleague Ted Vaughan noted in his recent blog post, retailers embraced a clear strategy  to help drive growth during the 2014 back-to-school season: Home in on Millennials—an age group with its own burgeoning buying power and a propensity for big-ticket purchases such as electronics and furniture. To put it into perspective, the 80 million Millennials in the U.S. spend approximately $600 billion annually, a number expected to rise to an estimated $1.4 trillion—or about 30 percent of all retail sales—by 2020, according to Time. By that point, they will account for one-third of the adult population, as well. Continue reading

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