Expectations for the Future

The May comp-store-sales trends indicate little change from the past 90 days. Retailers that understand what their customers want and provide it are doing well and the others struggle.

In an effort to provide a more predictive tool, The Gordman Group has developed the Retail Trend Tracker. Rather than report only on historical trends, this new tool will provide some forward-looking indicators. This month, the Trend Tracker reflects an Internet-based, national survey conducted with 500 consumers from May 31 to June 1.

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The survey compared consumers’ spending behavior during the past three months to their anticipated behavior during the upcoming three, breaking down the results by household income and also by chain.

Income: With regard to household income results, it is interesting to note a positive bias, with percentages increasing among those who plan to spend more, or at least spend the same amount. However, the survey results suggest that consumers who are the most well off (household incomes of $50,000 or more) plan to cut back spending going forward, while lower-income consumers seem more willing to spend. The data indicates that higher-income consumers, who have continued to spend may be changing their behavior over the next few months.

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For example, only 6% of respondents in the over $75,000 group said they plan to spend more in the next three months, while 37% of consumers with incomes of $30,000 to $39,999 said they plan to spend more.

The Consumer Spending by Retail Chain chart shows the “Spend More/Spend Less” behavior by retailer. It should be noted that a deeper analysis of the data indicates that core customers, defined as a retailer’s loyal customers, appear to be spending more at their favorite stores, and opportunistic customers, defined as those who only periodically shop at a store, are spending less. Since most retailers have more opportunistic customers than core customers, the numbers are weighted negatively.

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To view the complete Trending Report, go to www.gordmangroup.com