The week of February 4 through February 10 kicked off the new 4-5-4 retail calendar year. 2017 ended with a 53rd week, which occurs every 4 years. Retailers reported $3.53 trillion in sales for 2017, up 3.9% over 2016. Retail industry experts are expecting this new 2018 retail year to do well.
The NRF (National Retail Federation) is predicting 2018 sales to grow approximately 4% over 2017, including a record 10-12% increase in online sales, with mall kiosks, pop ups, catalogs and vending machines. NRF President and CEO, Matthew Shay, announced in a press call, “We think these confirm once again that the retail industry, while continuing to transform, is alive and well.” Increases are being attributed to the tax cuts to the corporate tax rates, the decrease in unemployment and increases in take home pay for consumers.
While there were 7,000 major store closings last year, there were also 3,200 new store openings. Retailers are adapting to consumer changing buying trends but are feeling optimistic and “very positive”, says Shay.
Retail trends that look to shape retail in 2018 include urbanization of stores as more people move to cities. The World Bank estimates more than 1 million people per week moving to cities, with greater access to stores. Consumers are also getting better at managing the large amount of online data being shown to them, allowing for retailers to share product information virtually while paring down stores for a showroom experience.
Effective use of Big Data is key for a retailer’s success. The data can be used to tell them customer loyalty, customer preferences, regional and national nuances, and inventory tracking as they redefine their brick and mortar spaces and expand their online presence and success at a seamless multichannel strategy to keep customers happy, as they can complete a transaction anywhere.