Kentucky Retail Federation Releases Spring 2016 Industry Survey Results
Contact: Sarah Rowlette, 502-875-1444, email@example.com
Coming off a lackluster holiday shopping season and wet spring weather, retailers are hesitant about Kentucky’s economy and the financial condition of their business going into summer.
When asked about the condition of their local economy in Kentucky Retail Federation’s Spring 2016 Industry Survey, respondents gave mixed reviews. Approximately 43 percent considered the condition of their local economy to be the same this year compared to last, 29 percent felt it is worse this year and the remaining 28 percent said it is better.
Similarly, when asked about the financial condition of their business this year compared to last, 41 percent found it to be the same and 36 percent said better. The remaining 23 percent responded that their business’ financial condition was worse this year – roughly eight percentage points higher than Spring 2015 respondents.
Retailers expectations of consumer confidence also appear to be mixed with roughly one-third of respondents indicating stronger sales, one-third indicating weaker and the remaining third stating no change expected in consumer confidence.
While the economy seems to be mixed, one trouble spot for retailers continues to be the increasing costs of doing business. Eighty-three percent of respondents have seen up to a 10 percent increase in operational costs since January. Additionally, 60 percent report an increase in their cost-of-goods sold of 1-5% since the beginning of the year.
“The survey shows a slight uptick in year-to-date gross sales – 40 percent of respondents reported an increase in YTD gross sales this year (13 percentage points higher than those who reported an increase in Spring 2015) – but we are concerned that any growth is being outweighed by increased costs of doing business,” said Tod Griffin, KRF President.
When asked about trending retail issues, respondents expressed the realities of “showrooming” (customers coming to a brick-and-mortar store to research a product they later purchase online), customers’ increased product knowledge and consumer expectations of online shopping.
Federation members are adapting to the shift to online, social media’s role in ecommerce, and mobile devices. Roughly 40 percent of respondents stated they had implemented social media as a marketing tool, 14.5 percent shared they had recently improved a website or integrated channels for ecommerce, and 16 percent are utilizing apps, mobile devices or are mobile-ready.
One bright spot in the spring survey found that Federation members’ workforce remains the same. Sixty-three percent of respondents said their full-time workforce has stayed the same this year and 80 percent reported their part-time workforce remained the same.