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KPMG survey shows senior retail executives upbeat

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The most recent survey of retail executives by KPMG finds industry leaders more optimistic about their business prospects, but less sanguine about the timing of economic recovery than a year ago.

"Although overall optimism is on the rise, retailers are looking to rebound from what was a drastic downturn for them, so there is considerable room for improvement yet," said Mark Larson of KPMG.

 

NEW YORK — According to a new survey by KPMG, most senior retail executives see business improving this year and expect even an even better situation in terms of revenue, profits and jobs in 2011.

According to a new survey by KPMG, most senior retail executives see business improving this year and expect even an even better situation in terms of revenue, profits and jobs in 2011.

Nearly two-thirds of the retail industry executives polled said overall business conditions for retailers are better now than a year ago. That response stands in stark contrast to last summer’s survey, in which only 20% of respondents took that upbeat view. In the most recent poll, more than 90% of executives expect better conditions ahead.

A similar percentage cite product innovations and innovative merchandising strategies, including mobile Internet and online marketing and shopping, as key drivers of revenue growth over the next three years.

"Although overall optimism is on the rise in this sector, retailers are looking to rebound from what was a drastic economic downturn for them, so there is considerable room for improvement yet," said Mark Larson, KPMG global retail sector chairman. "Retail executives know they must do more than cut costs — they need to capture more of their customers’ spending in what will continue to be a low-growth environment. Online and mobile internet shopping represent examples of how retailers can accomplish that goal. They allow consumers to get what they want, when they want it, and that is a significant key to growth in the industry."

However, the survey also revealed that executives plan to do little to add jobs — the key ingredient to sustained economic recovery. While 40% said they expect to add employees, most estimated their increases to range between 1% and 3%.

Moreover, survey participants extended the timeline for domestic economic recovery to March 2012. In last year’s survey, executives on average expected the economy to recover by April 2011.


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