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Grocery retailers are not quite as optimistic about the way things are going as they were a year ago, according to results of Progressive Grocer’s 83rd Annual Report of the Grocery Industry, which gauges the temperature of the nation’s retail food climate, courtesy of the direct input of retail executives charting the prevailing trends.
In 2015, just about half of the retail executives responding to our exclusive survey said they were more optimistic about the retail climate versus a year earlier, with about one-fifth expressing less optimism. This year, there was a fairly even three-way split among bad, good and indifferent attitudes regarding the retail food tempo.
The most trying factors singled out as weighing most heavily on our executive survey participants’ minds were perennial retail industry hot buttons: wages and benefits, data security, and price increases, all of which are taking a toll on retailers’ outlooks for the months ahead. The tepid mood also suggests that the competitive landscape shows no signs of leveling out as the omnichannel environment continues to evolve.
Conversely, this year’s results simultaneously depict an increasing focus on remaining relevant with more sophisticated customer relationship marketing tactics, greater emphasis on prepared foods, and more dedicated community outreach as key factors in making brands unique and loyalty-inspiring.
A closer look at these statistics — and many more — unfolds in PG’s April 2016 issue. New to this year’s report is a more user-friendly, visually enhanced treatment of some of the hottest industry trends and issues, such as leading advertising, marketing and engagement tactics; most valuable merchandising schemes; most productive uses of capital investments; most effective ways grocers are connecting with consumers; and most impactful store departments and services.