Top Posts of Q2 2015

As the first half of 2015 comes to a close, we wanted to provide a quick recap of our top blog posts.

In the past three months, we shared our thoughts around the leading risks concerning retailers, employee wages and shifting consumer behavior, among other top-of-mind issues for the retail community. Continue reading

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Using Authenticity to Attract Unpaid Brand Ambassadors

Last month, we had the pleasure of attending and sponsoring the annual Imperial Capital Consumer Summit.  A key theme discussed throughout the event was the need for retailers to evolve in response to consumer behavior. Ultimately, staying competitive in today’s environment requires that players more effectively engage with and form long-lasting and powerful connections with their customers. Between technological shifts such as mobile and in-store analytics, and demographic influences, including millennial shopping behaviors, retailers face new challenges and opportunities when it comes to fostering engagement with consumers. Continue reading

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Understanding the Electronic Payments Alphabet – Part Three: Mobile Technology and Devices

Earlier this year, we discussed Europay MasterCard Visa (EMV), the new method for issuing and accepting face-to-face card transactions that aims to reduce card fraud. In the third and final part of this electronic payment technology series, let’s shift the focus to Near Field Communications (NFC, or “Tap to Pay”).  Continue reading

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Retailers’ Economic & Security Concerns Evolve

As we highlighted last week in our infographic, retailers’ chief concerns related to the economy are changing.
Our annual analysis of the top risk factors cited in the 100 largest retailers’ annual filings unpacks the key economic concerns retailers point to. This year, we found that interest rates (cited by 88 percent) came in as the most frequently cited economic concern for the second year in a row. The risk topped concern over fuel prices (cited by 83 percent) and unemployment (cited by 73 percent), which have been retailers’ most noted economic risk for much of the study’s nine year history.

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Infographic: 2015 Retail RiskFactor Report

As retailers pause and consider top risks that could impact 2015 operations and sales, what’s weighing on their minds? This year’s 2015 Retail RiskFactor Report found that retailers’ modestly optimistic performance outlooks also bring concerns about how they’re strategically investing capital and executing overall business and growth initiatives. Meanwhile, they remain focused on the inherent exposures associated with various general economic shifts and challenges. Continue reading

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Retailers’ Top Risks Signal Questions around Avenues for Growth

As many retailers report earnings this week, analysts will be looking for guidance around what’s behind the slower-than-expected start to the year in retail sales. Despite lower gas prices, stronger consumer confidence and a host of positively trending economic indicators, consumer spending has been fairly steady. In this backdrop, retailers are increasingly unsure about how to strategically invest for growth in the new U.S. retail marketplace. Continue reading

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Consumer Conundrum: Solid Confidence Gains Collide with Cautious Spending

Since the start of the New Year, a curious situation has been baffling retailers. After hitting pre-recession levels in January, consumer confidence wavered between February and April, but maintained a healthy 95.2 on the Conference Board Index last month, well above its 2014 mark. So far, however, this cheerier consumer sentiment has hardly translated into more robust sales. Continue reading

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Moving Beyond the Minimum: Retailers Decide to Boost Employee Wages

The biggest line item on retailers’ budgets may be getting bigger. As unemployment rates decline and external pressures shift workforce dynamics, simply meeting minimum wage requirements for entry-level salaries may no longer be enough. With Wal-Mart announcing plans to boost pay for U.S. employees well above minimum wage, and other category killers like TJ Maxx and Target following suit, it’s clear that this is not a passing fad. Continue reading

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Could Depreciation Begin on Your Brick-and-Mortar Before You Open for Business?

Real estate is top of mind for many retailers in 2015. While some brands are rethinking store formats and rightsizing the number of stores, others are expanding rapidly or exploring a brick-and-mortar presence for the first time.

As retailers consider real estate decisions and potential investments, in addition to looking closely at locations and consumer trends, retailers should be thinking ahead to how they might account for depreciation.  A recent district court case in Louisiana (Stine, LLC v. USA) may provide some guidance. The case addressed whether a building can be considered “placed in service” before it is even open for business.  Retailers should pay attention to this case, as depreciation can be considerably impacted by the placed in service date. Continue reading

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Read the Full Report: 2015 BDO Retail Compass Survey of CFOs

In January of this year, we conducted our ninth annual Retail Compass Survey of CFOs, which asked 100 retail CFOs at leading U.S. retailers about their outlook for the industry in the year ahead. We found that along with optimistic sales projections, retailers provided their most bullish forecast for M&A activity in the survey’s history and expect strategic buyers to be the most acquisitive. Retailers also project modest e-commerce sales growth, and remain focused on fueling that growth by bolstering their online offerings and security with investments in their digital channels and IT systems.

For additional insights into financial metrics, sourcing strategies and top regulatory and tax concerns, be sure to check out the full report.

To access the survey report online, click here.

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