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A whopping 69 percent of chief financial officers at leading U.S. retailers are worried about tax reform as a result of the upcoming 2008 presidential elections, according to a recent study by BDO Seidman, LLP, one of the nation's leading accounting and consulting organizations.
Consumer confidence is also top of mind, with 57 percent of CFOs citing high fuel costs as the issue having the greatest impact on consumers so far in 2008, up by 10 percent from the first half of 2007. Looking forward to the balance of 2008, fewer CFOs (47 percent) cite fuels costs as having the greatest impact on consumer confidence, as CFOs report concern over other consumer issues including the housing market (28 percent), the election (13 percent) and inflation (11 percent).
In regards to the recent economic malaise, 47 percent of the CFOs are predicting that the economy will experience a meaningful turnaround by July of 2009, with the highest concentration of CFOs (28 percent) citing the second quarter as the most promising, according to the study.
"Retailers may remain wary for the rest of the year, as consumers stretch their dollars to cover inflation and, of course, heating bills," said Al Ferrara, a partner in the retail and consumer products practice at BDO Seidman. "Further, on top of shrinking margins, it is also an election year and most retail CFOs are very concerned about higher tax payments and fewer incentives as a result of any tax reform."
These findings are from the most recent edition of the BDO Seidman Retail Compass Survey which examined the opinions of 100 chief financial officers at leading retailers located throughout the country. The retailers in the study were among the largest in the country, with revenues of more than $100 million, including 24 percent of the top 100 based on annual sales revenue. The survey was conducted in August and September of 2008.