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CIT TRADE FINANCE: Middle-market retailers cautiously optimistic for holiday.
Details on Industry Insight.
Angelo Ponzi of Board-Trac shared the results with me, and here are some highlights of the survey, which includes responses from 161 retailers:
- 54 percent reported comp sales were down in the third quarter of 2008 vs. the same period last year. 56.5 percent said margins were down as well.
- 40 percent said sales rose in the third quarter of 2008 from the second quarter of 2008, while 48.4 percent said sales were down.
- Retailers that saw sales growth in the third quarter attributed the increase to weather/season, better customer service, more advertising/marketing and new/better product mix. Angelo thought the retailers' responses in this category were particularly interesting because it showed store owners were digging down and working on different aspects of their business.
- 28.6 percent expected sales for 2008 to be down 5 to 10 percent, 20.5 percent expected a 10 to 20 percent decline and 18.6 expected sales to increase 5 to 10 percent.
- Retailers said men's apparel, footwear, surf and skateboard hardgoods are the most important categories for their business growth.
- The most important factors retailers consider when deciding to stock a brand: Brand quality (91.3 percent), demand for brand (88.9 percent), brand reputation (86.3 percent), brand image (84.5 percent), customer service (77 percent) and distribution of brand in trading area (71.4 percent).
- And some good news for trade shows. Retailers report the top methods for gathering information about new brands include customers (48.4 percent), attending trade shows (45.3 percent), and sales reps (38.5 percent).
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