Top Retail Trends Identified

New York City, Looking ahead at the top five trends for 2005, Customer Growth Partners (CGP), a consulting group, came up with the following: Speed Rules. Across the retail landscape, winning companies are not simply those that offer the best price/value equation—but those that do so quickly and conveniently.

• Wal-Mart Is Not Waning. CGP believes that WMT is evolving to a pricing strategy that may not always beat the lowest—or the irrational—competitor; and is upgrading its lines to higher-price/higher-margin goods, ranging from gourmet prepared foods to $5,000 plasma TVs.

• HIP Is Hip. The Home Improvement sector—despite still being overlooked by traditional retail statistics and analysts—is exploding, and its $321 billion in annual sales dwarfs the $178 billion in sales at apparel retailers (Census Bureau 2003 statistics).

• Charity Is Chic. Even before the South Asia tsunami disaster, leading retailers had discovered the “softer side of altruism.”

• Product Pandemic. The notion that some categories of merchandise are available only in certain kinds of stores is rapidly becoming obsolete.

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