Infographic: 2015 Retail Compass Survey of CFOs

What are retail CFOs anticipating as they look to the year ahead? We’re preparing to release our 2015 Retail Compass Survey of CFOs report shortly, complete with a full analysis of the first, second and third round of results.

So far, 2015 has brought weaker-than expected sales gains for retailers. But longer-term growth indicators—including a stronger job market, promising consumer confidence levels and financial market stability—have retail CFOs feeling up about 2015 overall. Those we surveyed anticipate that further increases in consumer confidence levels will propel solid sales gains throughout the year ahead. Meanwhile, they expect the hyper-competitive landscape will prompt more retailers to consider M&A as a growth tactic in 2015.

Before we release the full report, take a look at our latest infographic below, which covers retailers’ sales projections, M&A expectations and considerations around key 2015 digital investments:   Continue reading

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Retailers Target 2015 Investments at Big Opportunities and Big Risks

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been sharing results from our 2015 BDO Retail Compass Survey of CFOs. Key themes have emerged around optimism, growth, M&A and the focus of our latest set of findings: investment.  Continue reading

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With Shifts in Consumer Behavior, Big Box Retailers Are Thinking Outside the Box

One size fits all? For some brands, that may not always be the case. Big box retailers who have historically relied on cost-conscious customers looking for one-stop shopping destinations are now searching for ways to boost their top line as the economy improves and consumer preferences shift away from large, all-in-one shopping trips. Continue reading

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Deals and Distribution Strategies Weigh on Retail CFOs’ Minds This Year

Will 2015 be another big year for deal activity in the retail sector? It may, in fact, shape up to be an even stronger year than 2014, according to the latest results from our 2015 Retail Compass Survey of CFOs. Retail chief financial officers gave their most bullish forecast for deal flow in the survey’s history, with 59 percent projecting an increase in M&A activity within the sector this year. Most CFOs (73 percent) expect that activity will be primarily centered in the U.S., while 15 percent think Asia will be the hottest region. Continue reading

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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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