Reader Survey: Are Retailers on Top of the Latest Risks and Trends?

Next month, we’ll be releasing our eighth annual Retail RiskFactor Report, which identifies the top risks currently facing retailers. The findings, based on the most recent 10-K filings of the top 100 U.S. retailers (by revenue), provide a look into the risks and constraints that these companies must navigate in order to successfully execute their growth strategies and maximize their performance in 2014.

Prior to releasing this year’s results, however, we want to hear from you about your perception of risk and uncertainty in the industry. Below are four of the largest trends that we have seen emerging over the past six months. Can you guess how companies will respond to them? Continue reading

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Top Posts of Q1

In the first quarter of 2014, we focused heavily on retailers’ top strategies for growth in the year ahead. Specifically, we saw retailers doubling down on their digital investments in a renewed push to develop omnichannel capabilities and stay ahead of increasing competition and consolidation in the industry. Looking onward to Q2, we’ll be diving into the latest retail franchising trends, analyzing retailers’ top risks in our annual RiskFactor Report and offering new insights into the state of the restaurant industry.

In the meantime, here are the top posts from the past three months, in case you missed them:

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Top 5 Tax Issues for Franchisors to Think About When Going International

Franchisors always have their ears to the ground for new and exciting growth opportunities. For newer franchisors, these opportunities may be found stateside, whether they’re looking to expand within their home state or to explore new geographies and markets nationwide. However, for more mature franchisors, the saturation of U.S. markets and a strong appetite for U.S. brands overseas may make international expansion the more compelling—and profitable—option. With “health casual” restaurant chain Freshii recently inking a deal to bring 20 units to Saudi Arabia and international franchise giant McDonald’s seeking more aggressive expansion opportunities in China, it is clear that franchisors are seeing untapped opportunities abroad. Continue reading

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Read the Full Report: 2014 BDO Retail Compass Survey of CFOs

Our eighth annual Retail Compass Survey of CFOs asked 100 retail CFOs about their outlook for the year ahead. We found that despite an uneven 2013 and a shaky start to 2014, retailers are cautiously optimistic that this year will bring renewed consumer confidence along with improved sales. Omnichannel growth should also drive sales, and will remain a key investment focus for retailers moving forward. For additional insights into regulatory and tax concerns, financial metrics and expectations around M&A and IPO activity, make sure to read the full report.

To access the survey report online, click here.


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Infographic: 2014 Retail Compass Survey of CFOs

How are retail CFOs feeling about the year ahead? Stay tuned for the release of the full 2014 Retail Compass Survey of CFOs report at the end of this month (for more info, here are the first, second and third rounds of results).

Overall, the CFOs we surveyed appear largely optimistic about the year ahead. Recent, better-than-expected job gains and warmer weather should help retailers’ already-cheery sentiments around consumer confidence and promising sales growth in the months ahead. In anticipation of the full report, take a look at our latest infographic below, which highlights sales projections, M&A considerations and key omnichannel growth initiatives:

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Retailers Focus Growth Strategies on Omnichannel

E-commerce and mobile sales are expected to remain the primary growth drivers as retailers look to the year ahead. Our 2014 Retail Compass Survey of CFOs found that most (64 percent) believe they will see an increase in online sales, projecting 8.2 percent growth for 2014. A little over one-third say online sales will be comparable to last year’s, suggesting e-commerce is becoming an industry mainstay, though some CFOs expect its growth to stabilize. Continue reading

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What We’re Reading This Week: Retail’s Digital Boom

Over the past few months, we’ve written extensively about the trends and strategy behind e-commerce, m-commerce and the overall impact of retail’s burgeoning omnichannel approach. As we prepare to release the final results from our eighth annual Retail Compass Survey of CFOs (for more information, see the first and second round of results), we have our ear to the ground for the most significant digital trends that are affecting the sector and driving retailers to reevaluate their strategies.

Here are just a few of the stories that have caught our attention recently: Continue reading

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Competitive Pressures Expected to Drive M&A Activity

It may very well be another lively year for deal activity in the U.S. retail sector. According to the latest data from our 2014 Retail Compass Survey of CFOs, most retail CFOs expect 2014 to bring more deals, or at least remain on par with last year. Continue reading

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Industry Ups & Downs Impact Retail REITs

Over at Commercial Property Executive, Jerry Shapiro of BDO Consulting takes a closer look at the current state of retail real estate investment trusts in relation to the most forceful trends currently shaping the retail industry overall. Jerry can be reached at

The retail REIT sector has the right framework in place for success: interest rates remain attractive in the first quarter of 2014, despite the Federal Reserve Bank’s commitment to quantitative easing, capital is accessible, and retail vacancy rates remain largely unchanged. Beyond the surface, however, general shifts in the retail industry will likely be the driving force behind retail REIT performance this year. While retail isn’t going to die and positive indicators have been forecasted, brick-and-mortar stores continue to suffer in the wake of the economic crisis and the continuing inroads of e-commerce. Continue reading on Commercial Property Executive.

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Retail CFOs Feeling Optimistic in 2014

Despite ongoing market uncertainty, retail chief financial officers are feeling more confident about the state of the consumer. According to this year’s BDO Retail Compass Survey of CFOs, retailers forecast a 5.1 percent increase in total sales and a 4.8 percent increase in comparable store sales this year, marking a significant increase from the number expressing similar sentiments last year, and confirming our readers’ expectationsContinue reading

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