Live from NRF: Comp-Store Growth a Top Priority

New York—After several years of focusing on cost cutting, retailers are now concentrating on top-line growth, according to a survey of 700 executives from 153 companies conducted by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and global management and technology consulting firm BearingPoint.

“In the past few years the top goal was margin enhancement,” said BearingPoint managing director Scott Hardy, “but this year comp-store growth is clearly the number-one priority.” In fact, 71% of respondents cited it as their main concern. Among other key findings: • 41% of respondents are purchasing 11%-40% of their merchandise through private-label sources.

• 94% of the retailers had an online presence in 2005, up dramatically from 50% in 2004.

• 13% of respondents linked more than 25% of their field management compensation to customer satisfaction.

• Nearly 25% of respondents expected to have implemented e-training this year; 20% planned to make technology improvements such as implementing hiring technologies or introducing self-service kiosks.

“For many retailers,” Hardy said, “it’s a case of trying to use technology while they’re big…to help them act small.” The days of mass retail are dead, he added. Companies need to focus more on what customers do on a localized basis.

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