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Features Business Trends
Retail exposed to changing shopping habits


October 14, 2009
By Amanda Ryder


Topics

NEWS HIGHLIGHT

Retail exposed to changing shopping habits
Today's new retail reality has transformed the
traditional relationship
between consumers and retailers.

Oct. 14 – Today's new retail reality has transformed the traditional
relationship between consumers and retailers. According to Karabus
Management, a leading retail advisory firm and subsidiary of
PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Canada, tightened
budgets and the variety of shopping options available to consumers from
traditional brick and mortar to online have forced retailers to
re-examine their value proposition.

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Antony Karabus, President and CEO of Karabus Management offers these predictions for the remainder of 2009 and into 2010:

– Luxury was the hardest hit in 2008, and while we see a modest recovery in that segment, it still has a long way to go.
– Value retailers will thrive.
– Emphasis on health and wellness will represent a strong trend. Expect continuing gains in organic and healthy alternatives.
– Diversity will also play a role in redefining retail. With growing
ethnic diversification, expect to see retailers catering to the needs
of first and second generation immigrants.
– Sales and margins will remain under pressure. Retailers will only
spend money on store design and remodelling when absolutely required.
– Grocery store sales will remain stable.
– Premium casual restaurants will continue to do well through the
remainder of 2009; however, as many consumers will elect not to
patronize higher end restaurants, they will likely take a hit.

"Thriving retailers are not only managing their financial
operations tightly; they are offering customers clear value,
differentiating themselves through service, assortment and the in-store
experience," says Mr. Karabus and provides these to five strategies for retailers to emerge stronger from the recession:

– Optimize cash and cost management.
– Understand what is relevant and motivates your customer.
– Use science to improve gross margins and inventory productivity.
– Invest in technology correctly and on the right projects.
– Get your supply chain right.


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