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Supply Chain Top Priority, Say Dealers

Retailers will be focusing on supply chain efficiency this year in order to stay competitive, according to new research by the National Retail Federation (NRF) Foundation and consultancy BearingPoint.

The study, “Retail Horizons: Benchmarks for 2004, Forecasts for 2005,” released during last month’s NRF Annual Convention & Expo, here, revealed that the majority of retailers cite supply chain optimization as a priority initiative for getting closer to the customer.

“Shopping data collected from the store level can be leveraged as valuable real time data and shared throughout a retailer’s supply chain network of suppliers, factories and distribution centers to meet anticipated product demand,” said Scott Hardy, managing director, BearingPoint.

Other key findings of the study, which surveyed over 300 retailers across all types, sizes and channels, include:

  • Nearly 25 percent plan for half of their assortments to be private label.
  • More than 20 percent cited outsourcing as a priority this year.
  • More than half plan to replace or upgrade their point-of-sale systems this year.
  • Some 38 percent will focus on domestic expansion, and 17 percent will focus on expansion overseas.
  • More than 33 percent will focus on store redesign and relocation.

Taking a page from Best Buy, the study suggests several approaches retailers can use to gain competitive advantages and achieve sustainable profitability, including targeting and segregating high-value customers from low- and no-value customers, and providing the right combination of product and services to earn loyalty.