Despite corporate concerns about future tax policy, the past several years of uncertainty have given way to generally more upbeat attitudes in the retail sector for 2013, according to Colliers International’s 2013 North American Retail Outlook Report, released today.
Colliers market experts point to key “Trends to Watch” in 2013:
- Elevating the Retail Sector: Colliers expects retailers and property owners will identify hybrid executive roles within their organizations to better oversee the growth and integration of omnichannel operations.
- Cost Containment Remains a Priority: Even as the economy and jobs market demonstrate signs of a broad-based improvement, shoppers remain focused on price and value. Retailers continue to manage gross margin pressure, especially as hints of inflation start to appear, and are prioritizing investments in their supply chain to better manage costs.
- Housing Makes Solid Gains: The housing recovery, which began last year, has strengthened significantly and is expected to contribute meaningfully to economic growth in 2013. Consumers’ increasing confidence is driving outsized sales in home furnishings and home improvement, and could be the catalyst for new retail concepts to launch in the U.S.
- Outlet Centers Booming: The development sector is strengthening in both the U.S. and Canada, with outlet centers figuring prominently into retail development pipelines. Nine are slated to open this year, with three dozen more either announced or rumored to be in development.
- Reduced Transparency in Capital Expenditures: Despite executives’ general optimism about the consumer marketplace, corporate disclosures on annual Capital Expenditures (CapEx) have been far less detailed than they were this time last year, with respect to both budget size and how it will be allocated amongst corporate platforms.
“We watch CapEx because it’s one of the best forward-looking indicators of where company executives’ heads are,” said Ann Natunewicz , U.S. manager of retail research for Colliers International and primary author of the report. “Companies are disclosing less not because we believe they’ll actually spend less, but because they’re so hyper-aware of the fast-paced marketplace and their competition that they want to maintain flexibility to change course mid-year and, of course, not broadcast their strategies. We actually think that year-end CapEx will come in higher than 2012’s, what with so much pressure to invest for innovation and to realize long-term cost savings.”