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Page 14 APRIL 2018 | RETAILERS FORUM MAGAZINE

For Late-Breaking Industry News Visit: www.retailersforum.com

If It Affects Retailing We Report On It!

NRF Predicts Economic Strength

FROM all reports that we are seeing, especially one from National Retail Federation, everything is

pointing to continued improvement in the economy and our retailing segments. Consumer spending

and confidence has risen, which is a large factor in creating a better economy. Additionally with the

tax reform laws that are kicking in there should be an upward shift in spending in the marketplace.

THE leading economic indicators show a 1% surge in January, the second highest monthly gain

in almost five years. With continued consumer optimism (the second highest level since 2004) we

should continue to see good economic growth for our businesses.

SMALL businesses in the US entered 2018 with stronger sales growth, improved profitability

and positing hiring. The NRF has estimated that retail industry sales (excluding automobiles, gas

stations and restaurants) will grow between 3.8 and 4.4 percent over 2017. Online and other non

store sales are expected to increase between 10 to 12 percent.

NOW there are always monkey wrenches to be thrown into the mix as we saw last month with

the tarifs on steel and aluminum so nothing is certain, but overall the growth for our retail segment

looks strong and promising and that is something I think we should all be looking forward to and try

to capitalize on.

Nordstrom To Go Private

THE founding family of Nordstrom Inc. has been finalizing plans to submit an offer to take the

US department store operator private. And with the announcements have been a nice rise in the

company's stock prices.

THE group has been meeting with bankers and hoping for approval. The family group owns 31.s

percent of the retailer and sources say that they believe they could better manage the company's

operational restructuring and transition to e-commerce away from the public markets. Their

competitors Sakes Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylors had also explored going private last year but

nothing was finalized.

Return Policy Can Break Your Business

SHOPPERS are increasingly purchasing apparel online despite the uncertainties that come with

it: sizing, fit, colors, etc. Unlike shopping in a physical store where you can test the quality, fit and

style there's no way to know. As a result there is a huge percentage of returned goods on apparel

bought online - the numbers show almost a third of purchases made are returned!

RETAILERS need to find and adapt new ways to take the guesswork out of buying apparel online.

Many retailers are opening pop-up shops that feature samples so shoppers can see and feel and

than place online orders. Seems to me that it defeats the convenience of online though.

OTHER retailers such as Nordstrom maintain an "anything goes: return policy, allowing shoppers

to return anything for any reason, even months after their purchase was made.

EARLIER this month retailer L.L. Bean ended its iconic lifetime satisfaction guarantee, which

turned out cost the company over $250 million over the last five years.

MANY online retailers have started adding restocking fees and return fees, postage fees etc.

on returned goods and some even limit the number of returns from any single customer. These

changes will probably increase in-store sales...not a bad thing for us brick and mortars!

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