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Retail U survey: Mobile most important in 2011

BY CSA STAFF

New York City — Mobile technology ranked as the most important priority for retail in 2011, according to a recent online poll by Retail U. The respondents were asked to base their results on their key takeaways from the National Retail Federation’s 100th Annual Convention & Expo, in New York City.

Thirty-two percent of the respondents cited mobile technology as most important, followed by cross-channel integration and inventory visibility, with each receiving 21% of the vote. Other major priorities for the year include advanced CRM/loyalty programs (18%) and PCI compliance (8%).

To learn more about the trends driving today’s leading retailers, go to retail-u.com.

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FINANCE

Customer Growth Partners projects 5.1% retail growth in 2011

BY CSA STAFF

New Canaan, Conn. — The retail industry will grow by 5.1% in 2011, the strongest growth in four years, according to Customer Growth Partners’ 2011 Forecast and Outlook. The New Canaan, Conn.-based consulting and research firm projects that the industry will create over half a million new jobs in 2010, the most of any employment sector, and that retail sales will reach a record level of almost $2.9 trillion.

CGP’s forecast uses an econometric model with variables such as personal income growth, savings rates, employment data, household wealth and credit data, inflation rates and energy prices; and on CGP’s proprietary retail database of the largest 100 retailers. [Retail sales forecast data are derived from DOC/Census data, excluding autos/gasoline/restaurants; and employment forecasts are based on DOL/Bureau of Labor Statistics data.]

CGP’s estimated 5.1% year-over-year growth rate for 2011 would be the fastest growth since the 5.3% reached in 2006, the last full year pre-recession, and the $2.87 trillion 2011 sales forecast would top the total sales record of $2.73 trillion set in 2010.

The CPG report also predicts that the strongest-growing retail sectors in 2011 will be home-related, including home furnishings retailers such as Bed Bath Beyond and Williams-Sonoma, and home-improvement players such as Home Depot and Lowe’s — reflecting four years of pent-up demand and depressed sales levels during the housing slump.

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NRF welcomes Obama’s pro-retail business proposals in State of Union address

BY CSA STAFF

Washington, D.C. — The National Retail Federation welcomed President Obama’s recognition of the importance of the retail industry to job creation in Tuesday night’s State of the Union address, and pledged to work with the White House on initiatives to promote continuation of the nation’s economic recovery.

“We are pleased to see that President Obama recognizes that jobs in the retail industry are good jobs and important to the economy,” NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay said. “It was significant that he voiced his continued support for ‘commonsense safeguards’ like the limits on swipe fees he signed last year, which will help retailers innovate and support the consumer spending that is crucial to job creation.”

Obama offered a number of proposals that would benefit the retail industry, including a reduction in corporate tax rates in return for eliminating many current tax breaks. NRF has long supported a broader corporate tax base with lower rates because it would allow businesses to make decisions based on the economic results of investment rather than tax consequences.

Obama also called for reform of individual tax rates, adoption of free trade agreements that would make it easier for retailers to import merchandise while helping open markets for U.S. goods, and deficit reduction through cuts in government spending rather than new taxes that would threaten the recovery.

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