WASHINGTON — Retailers are ready to expand again, and likely will do so as the economy picks up, according to a new survey conducted by the charitable arm of the National Retail Federation and KPMG.
In their ninth annual "Retail Horizons: Benchmarks for 2010, Forecasts for 2011" report, the NRF Foundation and KPMG found that among 318 of executives surveyed, 41% said they are looking to expand their domestic reach this year, up from one-quarter of retail executives surveyed last year. International expansion plans also are on the rise, with 25% of executives saying that they will broaden their businesses overseas, up from 21% last year. Mark Larson, partner in charge of KPMG’s retail group, said, “these findings dramatically demonstrate that retail expansion is back on the agenda."
“After several years of belt tightening, retailers are also ready to begin experimenting again with new brick-and-mortar concepts, hoping to appeal to shoppers interested in buying discretionary items once again,” Larson said. “They will, however, move ahead with cost discipline in mind.”
But while retailers will widen their scope, many also will focus on customer-centric initiatives, that is, honing in on customer service and such strategic measures as implementing mobile e-commerce or m-commerce, as well as such insight initiatives as customer loyalty programs. For this year, 75% of retailers said customer service will be a top priority (up from 56% on 2010), while 69% of retailers said they will focus on mobile e-commerce or m-commerce, and 74% of retailers this year will increase their consumer insight and data gathering initiatives.