GE Capital: Retail CFOs more optimistic, look to invest

Norwalk, Conn. -- Retail CFOs of U.S. middle-market companies are becoming more optimistic concerning the state of the industry, according to the latest GE Capital survey of  retail CFOs of companies with revenues ranging from $50 million to $1 billion.

Half (50%) of the surveyed CFOs plan to replace old equipment with newer, more efficient equipment as a way of improving operational efficiencies. The second most anticipated initiative to improve operational efficiency among the CFOs was a reduction in the number of suppliers (24%).

“Demand for financing from retailers has also increased substantially over the past 12 months as retailers move from cost containment to once again investing for the future,” said Jim Hogan, senior managing director, GE Capital, Corporate Retail Finance. “

Overall, retail CFOs are optimistic about the outlook for their industry, the U.S. economy and the world economy. Key findings include:

  • A majority (80%) of retail CFOs surveyed believe their company’s revenue will increase in 2011, a 26% point rise since first quarter 2010.
  • Thirty-eight percent expect to increase their capital expenditures this year.
  • Sixty percent expect the discount category to see the greatest increase in consumer spending in 2011. Twenty-two percent expect the luxury category to see an increase in consumer spending, up 14 percentage points from first quarter 2010.
  • Forty-three percent see increased new order pipelines this year, up 18% since third quarter 2010
  • Nearly one-third of retail CFOs expect an increase in their financing needs over the next 12 months

For more information on the GE Capital Middle-Market CFO Survey, visit gecapital.com/cfosurvey.