FINANCE

A.T. Kearney: Brazil tops among developing countries for retail investment

BY Marianne Wilson

Chicago — For the third consecutive year, Brazil ranked number one in the top 30 developing countries for retail investment worldwide by A.T. Kearney. Rounding out the top five are: Chile, Uruguay, China and the United Arab Emirates.

The 2013 A.T. Kearney Global Retail Development Index (GRDI) revealed that South and Latin America remain significant growth markets for retailers. Sub-Saharan Africa continues to build momentum, with Botswana and Namibia in the rankings and a few other nations ranked just outside the top 30. Africa is a dramatic retail opportunity if business and political risk can be managed, according to the survey.

A number of small countries with unique characteristics of wealth and consumer focus including Uruguay (3rd) Mongolia (7th), Georgia (8th), and Armenia (10th) are ranked in the GRDI. For luxury retailers, these are new-found hubs. For general retailers, these countries can be the beginning of a regional strategy.

“Shopping centers and malls are driving much of the progress in organized retail in developing countries, as they solve regulatory and real estate issues for many retailers, “ said Althea Peng, A.T. Kearney partner and study co-leader.

In other survey findings, India dropped nine places in the ranking, landing at number 14. The global slowdown did not spare India, whose GDP growth rate slipped to 5% to 6%, while same-store sales volume growth slowed in 2012 across all retail segments. High operating costs, low bargaining power with vendors, and a need to discount heavily to improve sales have put pressure on margins and, therefore, retailers’ expansion plans. Real estate cost and space availability have been important issues as well.

The top 10 countries

  1. Brazil
  2. Chile
  3. Uruguay
  4. China
  5. United Arab Emirates
  6. Turkey
  7. Mongolia
  8. Georgia
  9. Kuwait
  10. Armenia

Published since 2002, the GRDI ranks the top 30 developing countries for retail investment worldwide. The Index analyzes 25 macroeconomic and retail-specific variables to help retailers devise successful global strategies and to identify emerging market investment opportunities.

To read the full 2012 GRDI Report, visit grdi.atkearney.com.

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News

Lowe’s tailors social media strategy to platforms; has 4 million Pinterest followers

BY Dan Berthiaume

North Wilkesboro, N.C. – Despite discussions about the need for retailers to develop a “social media strategy,” the reality is that social media is not a monolithic entity. Different social media platforms reach different types of consumers, are used for different purposes and draw traffic at different times of the day. Thus, a social media strategy really needs to be a collection of smaller strategies that are built around the dynamics of each individual platform a retailer chooses to leverage.

One major retailer that recognizes the need for this type of multifaceted social media strategy is Lowe’s Companies. At the recent Internet Retailer Conference in Chicago, Lowe’s director of social media and emerging platforms, Brad Walters, told workshop attendees that retailers must establish objectives that are defined for each social platform.

“Content is key,” said Walters. “Look at the daypart that attracts the most traffic for different platforms and the frequency of posting that will work best.”

For example, Walters said Lowe’s views Facebook as a shareable solution.

“Facebook gives you an ‘a-ha’ moment,” said Walters. “You can get tremendous engagement from shares and likes.”

Lowe’s also uses the Vine mobile Twitter video service to tweet short “how-to” videos, such as a video showing customers how using a rubber band can allow them to remove a stripped screw. And the retailer uses Pinterest as an opportunity to inspire customers.

“We released a ‘Spring Has Spring’ Pinterest board with colorful images and videos and gained 80,000 followers,” said Walters. “We don’t use Pinterest to extend our catalog or flyer. It’s a way to provide valuable content for inspiration. We don’t have pictures of products with a white background.”

To date, Walters said Lowe’s has accumulated 4 million Pinterest followers.

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REAL ESTATE

Canada’s Birks to debut new format

BY Staff Writer

Montreal — Canadian jewelery retailer Birks will introduce a new retail concept in the summer of 2013, with new stores opening in DIX30 Complex, Brossard, Quebec, and in the new Mapleview Mall in Burlington, Ontario.

The new format, developed in collaboration with Sid Lee Architecture, will feature round 1,500 sq. ft. of retail space and be dedicated to jewelry from the Birks Collection.

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