Slow and steady is the best way to characterize the retail industry’s recent growth: Over the past three months, overall sales have continued to edge up slightly, and consumer confidence has kept pace with modest gains, reaching its highest point in June since January 2008. With these reticent indications of growth, retail executives remain cognizant of various pressures in the industry, especially around the retail labor market. Continue reading
We are now halfway through 2014, and before we look ahead to the two busiest times of the year for retailers, we want to provide a quick overview of Q2. Over the past three months, we focused extensively on the risks that retail and consumer product companies face. Amid intense competition and consolidation, we saw companies attempting to navigate new avenues for strategic growth, while at the same time locking down their digital platforms due to heightened risks surrounding cybersecurity. In the weeks and months ahead, we’ll continue to monitor these trends and how they develop during the back-to-school rush. Also, be on the lookout for upcoming insights into the retail labor market, as well as our mid-year IPO update. Continue reading
The battle for the best online delivery service is heating up for retailers. With consumers expecting greater speed and smaller fees, companies are exploring a wide range of new strategies as they look to entice their customers and pull ahead of their competitors. Last month, Google launched Shopping Express, a same-day delivery service that partners with retailers and uses couriers to get products to consumers. Meanwhile, Amazon Local Express now offers same-day shipping in 12 cities. Google charges $4.99 per item, while Amazon charges $9.98 for the first item plus $0.99 for each additional item. eBay is also in the game with its eBay Now service, which partners with retailers including Best Buy and AutoZone in select cities to offer same-day delivery for only $5.00 per order. Continue reading
In the midst of the American shale oil and gas boom, a curious new trend has emerged in the retail industry. As Shelly Banjo notes in her recent Wall Street Journal article, companies such as Home Depot and Wal-Mart are opening new stores in regions that were once isolated and sparsely populated, but now are home to booming oil and gas towns with healthy appetites for retail and real estate. Continue reading
Our eighth annual Retail RiskFactor Report, which analyzes 10-K filings of the 100 largest U.S. retailers, found that companies are looking to capitalize on an economy that appears to be on steadier footing. Growth and expansion risks are coming to the forefront, but operational risks, including cybersecurity, international exposures and regulatory compliance, remain top of mind.
For more on the top risks impacting the retail industry this year, read our full report here.
Last month, our team attended Imperial Capital’s 2014 Consumer Summit, where we heard several fantastic presentations regarding trends that are currently reshaping the retail industry. One of the overarching themes was how new data analytics are providing retailers with dizzying depths of insights into how they can more effectively anticipate and deliver on their customers’ shifting wants and needs. Continue reading
Back in December 2013, a U.S. District Judge approved a $5.7 billion antitrust settlement with Visa and MasterCard. This massive settlement—the largest of its kind in U.S. history—was aimed at reconciling years of angry complaints from retailers surrounding their inability to negotiate interchange fees, or the percentage of sales they must pay to banks to accept credit cards, with these two companies. Retailers claimed that, in addition to cutting into their revenues, agreements from the banks prevented them from incentivizing customers to use alternative forms of payment. Continue reading
Which risks are keeping U.S. retailers up at night? Stay tuned to the blog, as we’re due to release the full 2014 Retail RiskFactor Report later next week (for more on the results, click here and here).
This year, the report found that retailers are largely focused on leveraging improved economic conditions to achieve new growth in the months ahead, while at the same time reducing their exposure to the many risks that are inherent to such strategic initiatives. Before the full report is released, check out our latest infographic below, which highlights the report’s findings related to strategic growth concerns, as well as increased risks associated with cybersecurity and interest rates. Continue reading
As I noted last week, retailers’ renewed optimism around 2014 gains has spurred an increase in concerns over strategic growth initiatives. But aside from broader risks associated with economic conditions and the competitive landscape, companies looking to achieve growth are also increasingly worried about their own operational capabilities and hazards. According to our eighth annual analysis of the top risks impacting the nation’s 100 largest retailers, concerns over cybersecurity, the regulatory landscape and international operations are all on the rise. Continue reading