U.S. Retail Executives' Outlook Stronger In November
Nov 27, 2002
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The latest Retail Executive Opinion Survey shows stronger results for November over the previous month. The Retail Sector Performance Index (RSPI) for November stands at 43.3 percent, up from October's 37.6 percent.

The Retail Executive Opinion Survey is a monthly index by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi Ltd. (BTM). The RSPI measures retail executives' evaluations of:

  • monthly sales
  • customer traffic
  • average transaction per customer
  • employment
  • inventories
  • a six-month-ahead sales outlook expectation.

    The RSPI is based on a scale of 0 percent to 100 percent, with 50 percent equaling normal.

    Retail Indicators Improving

    "The major indicators of the survey appear to be improving," said Michael Niemira, senior retail analyst, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, Ltd. "Although the overall measurement is still below normal we are hopeful this means retail is finally beginning to turn the corner."

    According to the survey, the Operations Index, which is an assessment of industry employment and inventory levels, showed the most improvement as retailers beefed up last-minute inventories going into the holiday season.  The index stood at a much-improved 47.4 percent - well above its October reading of 40.6 percent. 

    Although retail executives remain cautious going into the holiday season, almost half of those surveyed (47.0 percent) feel that holiday sales could surprise many people by exceeding expectations.

    In a special question to assess the holiday advertising spending environment, a majority of the industry leaders (79.0 percent) felt 2002 holiday ad spending would be the same or stronger than 2001.

    "It appears that the economic indicators are falling in line with our forecast," said NRF President and CEO Tracy Mullin.  "Stronger-than-expected October retail sales and a boost in consumer confidence could create some surprises this holiday season.  NRF expects holiday sales to increase 4.0 percent over 2001."

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