Chicago -- Amid economic uncertainty and low consumer confidence levels, retail CFOs are expecting a 3% increase in total 2011 sales, according to a recent survey by BDO USA, LLP. While the number reflects the study’s most optimistic sales forecast since 2007, it is down from the 4.7% sales increase reported by the Commerce Department in 2010.
The vast majority of CFOs surveyed in the fifth-annual BDO Retail Compass Survey of CFOs expect to see a continuation of stagnant economic conditions. Just 11% expect to see an economic turnaround in the next year, up slightly from 2010 (9%). Thirty-eight percent of CFOs say improved consumer confidence will be most important factor for economic recovery, and another 36% cite lower unemployment as the linchpin.
“Retailers may not anticipate a full recovery in the near future, but we’re not seeing gloom and doom in sales expectations,” said Doug Hart, partner in the retail and consumer product practice at BDO USA. “Despite low confidence levels, macroeconomic conditions are not weighing on the consumer’s wallet as much as expected, and CFOs anticipate moderate spending levels to continue through the holiday season.”
In other survey findings:
The BDO survey examined the opinions of 100 CFOs at leading retailers located throughout the country. The retailers were among the largest in the country, including 10% of the Top 100 based on annual sales revenue. The survey was conducted in August and September 2011.