Supply Chain Tops Focus List

New York City, The topic of supply chain efficiency took the top spot in a survey of retailers asked to identify their leading competitive focus of 2005. The NRF Foundation and BearingPoint, Inc. unveiled the results at the NRF Annual Convention in New York today.

The study, “Retail Horizons: Benchmarks for 2004, Forecasts for 2005,” revealed that the majority of retailers cite supply chain optimization as a priority initiative for getting closer to the customer.

“In today’s competitive environment, retailers understand the importance of leveraging their customer information,” said Scott Hardy, a managing director with BearingPoint, one of the world's largest business consulting and systems integration firms. “Shopping data collected from the store level can be leveraged as valuable real time data and shared throughout a retailer's supply chain network of suppliers, factories and distribution centers to meet anticipated product demand.” Other key findings of the study include: • Almost 25% of retailers plan for half of their merchandise assortments to be private label;

• In the next 12 months, more than half of retailers (57%) plan to replace or upgrade their point-of-sale systems;

• While 38% of retailers will focus on domestic expansion, 17% will focus on international expansion;

• This year, 33% of retailers will focus on redesign and relocation of stores; and

• More than one in five retailers (21%) list outsourcing as a priority for 2005.

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