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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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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