Retail Weekly Roundup (1-July-2012)

by Deepak Sharma on Saturday, June 30, 2012

2012 Future of Food Retailing Report (Needs registration)

With the U.S. economy experiencing slow growth, persistent unemployment, and stagnant household incomes, consumers are moving toward extremes. Cost-conscious shoppers continue to seek extreme value and acceptable quality or better at low prices. Other shoppers less affected by the downturn have returned to upper-tier food retailers. Retailers who cater to the middle are finding their positions more challenging to maintain.  With the most recent bout of food inflation seeming to moderate, the pressure on their sales and profits is likely to continue.

This year’s edition of The Future of Food Retailing Report highlights market share figures for grocery and consumables by store format, illustrates which formats are thriving and look to continue growth in today’s challenging economy, and forecasts how these key formats will perform over the next five years, i.e., by 2016.

PODCAST: John Orr, Trends in Human Capital Management for Retailers

On this two-part podcast, we talked about trends in human capital management and what retailers need as it relates to human capital management.

On part one of the podcast, we focused on compliance among labor laws and visibility of the business. On part two, we addressed the need for speed as a big trend in retailer human capital management.

Retailers are under attack from many angles. There is scarce talent, they’re in a high turnover industry, they’re being legislated left and right, whether it’s gift card legislation in NJ, or California labor laws and class-action lawsuits. We discussed the challenges retailers face navigating through this landscape.

Concerning the challenge of visibility, more and more retailers are expressing the need for better visibility at the store level and above store. Legacy applications, however, have fallen very short in giving retailers access to the information they need. Most retailers are fraught with manual processes, inefficiencies and spreadsheets. The reporting from these systems is not timely enough for the executives to be proactive and make the decisions they need to do on a day-to-day basis. Retailers need solutions that provide intuitive real-time information, and should not be held hostage to legacy systems and interfaces and processes.

How deep are your pockets?

The internet, by allowing anonymous browsing and rapid price-comparing, was supposed to mean low, and equal, prices for all. Now, however, online retailers are being offered software that helps them detect shoppers who can afford to pay more or are in a hurry to buy, so as to present pricier options to them or simply charge more for the same stuff.

Technology Grows in Importance for Retailers, New CompTIA Research Study Reveals

Seventy-two percent of retailers surveyed rate technology as important to their business, CompTIA’s Retail Sector Technology Adoption Trends Study reveals. That figure is projected to increase to 83 percent by 2014.

A net 63 percent of retailers expect to increase IT spending in 2012 with the remaining 37 percent planning to cut back or hold the line. Large retailers expect to boost IT spending the most – 4.8 percent, on average. For all firms, the planned average increase is 4.2 percent.

Competing With Amazon on Amazon

Thousands of small merchants depend on Inc. to reach customers who otherwise wouldn't know they exist. A few of them complain, though, that Amazon sometimes eats their lunch.

According to some small retailers, the Seattle-based giant appears to be increasingly using its Marketplace—where third-party retailers sell their wares on the site—as a vast laboratory to spot new products to sell, test sales of potential new goods, and exert more control over pricing.