National Retail Federation Upgrades 2016 Economic Forecast

National Retail Federation Upgrades 2016 Economic Forecast

Retailers Expect Increase in Consumer Spending to Continue

WASHINGTON – With increases in consumer spending expected to remain solid during the remainder of the year, the National Retail Federation today said retail sales for 2016 are now expected to grow 3.4 percent over last year rather than the 3.1 percent forecast earlier. Online and other non-store sales, which are included in the overall figure, are expected to increase 7-10 percent year-over-year rather than the 6-9 percent forecast earlier.

“Economic indicators are showing positive trends for retail,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay, citing the improved housing market, job growth, higher wages and other factors that have boosted consumer spending. “Challenges remain, with some greater than others depending on the retail category, but consumer confidence remains high and we believe that retail customers will continue the positive trends we have seen in the first two quarters of the year.”


Retail sales in the first half of 2016 performed at a solid pace, growing close to 4 percent on a year-over-year basis, according to NRF calculations, which exclude automobiles, gasoline stations and restaurants. NRF expects gross domestic product to grow between 1.9 and 2.4 percent.

“There are many factors that could prove to be hurdles but our overall outlook is optimistic,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “Uncertainty surrounding the presidential election could make consumers more cautious, and the combination of a rising dollar and global slowdown have impacted exports, but other factors like favorable weather patterns that will help move winter merchandise support our outlook.”

NRF is watching economic developments closely and will evaluate any changes to its forecast as necessary. If needed, the next update to forecast will come as part of NRF’s annual holiday forecast in October.

NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy. NRF’s This is Retail campaign highlights the industry’s opportunities for life-long careers, how retailers strengthen communities, and the critical role that retail plays in driving innovation.

Hispanic Consumers Lead U.S. Market in Grocery Shopping Enjoyment and Engagement

Hispanic Consumers Lead U.S. Market in Grocery Shopping Enjoyment and Engagement

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. & NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–As the U.S. Hispanic population continues to grow in size and influence,Acosta, a leading full-service sales and marketing agency in the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry, and Univision Communications Inc. (UCI), the leading media company serving Hispanic America, have released the 5th Edition of The Why? Behind The Buy™ U.S. Hispanic Shopper Study. This new research explores the buying patterns and behaviors of these highly experiential shoppers and provides insights CPG brands and retailers can leverage to better appeal to and connect with this important shopper segment.

“Data clearly shows Hispanics are the driving force behind sales growth across many key grocery categories, but the bigger challenge is to look more intently at Hispanic shoppers’ path to purchase to identify their specific attitudes and behaviors,” said Marianne Quinlan-Sacksteder, Director of Insights, Acosta.

“At its roots, Hispanic culture is vibrant, engaging and community-centric, and we are seeing those same characteristics manifest themselves in the way U.S. Hispanics approach grocery shopping,” added Liz Sanderson, Vice President, Strategy and Insights, Univision Communications Inc. “For Hispanic shoppers, it’s about far more than bringing home food to feed the family — it’s an opportunity to spend time with loved ones while exploring and experiencing something new.”












The Why? Behind the Buy U.S. Hispanic Shopper Study, 5th Edition reveals:

Shopping is an enjoyable social experience for Hispanics. Hispanic shoppers enjoy grocery shopping significantly more than their U.S. counterparts, in part, because they consider the experience a social endeavor.

  • 68 percent of Hispanic shoppers — and an even higher 7 in 10 Hispanic Millennials — say they enjoy grocery shopping versus 59 percent of total U.S. shoppers.
  • While 39 percent of U.S. shoppers report shopping alone, 79 percent of Hispanic shoppers go grocery shopping with someone else, such as a spouse, child or friend. Eighty-eight percent of Hispanic Millennials do the same, making them the most likely of all the generations to go grocery shopping with companions.
  • More Hispanic shoppers indicated they enjoyed shopping many of the departments found in the perimeter of the store, including the bakery, fresh meat, service deli counter, fresh produce and prepared foods sections.

Hispanic shoppers are highly engaged in store and digitally along the path to purchase. With a positive outlook, Hispanic shoppers are more interactive and take better advantage of opportunities to enhance their experience before, while and after grocery shopping.

  • Hispanic shoppers are utilizing their stores’ special departments, services and areas more than total U.S. shoppers:
    • 38 percent of U.S. Hispanic shoppers use the in-store cafeteria area for eating ready-to-go foods versus 27 percent of total U.S. shoppers.
    • 34 percent use the coffee bar or in-store coffeehouse, a full 10 percent more than total U.S. shoppers.
    • 22 percent participate in cooking demonstrations or lessons versus 16 percent of total U.S. shoppers.
  • Significantly more Hispanic shoppers’ purchases are often impacted by in-store merchandising and promotions:
    • 26 percent of U.S. Hispanic shoppers indicate that coupons available at the shelf impact their purchase decision versus 21 percent of total U.S. shoppers.
    • 18 percent indicate that product tastings or demonstrations influence what they bought versus 11 percent of total U.S. shoppers.
  • Hispanic shoppers are more engaged than U.S. shoppers with many digital tools — including social media — along the grocery path to purchase.
    • 33 percent of U.S. Hispanic shoppers research a new grocery item online versus 22 percent of total U.S. shoppers.
    • 35 percent of U.S. Hispanic shoppers read their grocery retailer’s digital circular versus 30 percent of total U.S. shoppers.
    • 32 percent of U.S. Hispanic shoppers sign up for contests and sweepstakes after shopping versus 21 percent of total U.S. shoppers.

The Why? Behind The Buy U.S. Hispanic Shopper Study was produced in partnership with Univision Communications Inc. via Acosta’s proprietary Shopper F1rst™ survey in November-December 2015. To access the full report, visit For more insights on Hispanic grocery shoppers, view the archived webinar.

Top Reason Summer Vacationers will Stop at Your Store

Top Reason Summer Vacationers will Stop at Your Store

Screen Shot 2016-06-07 at 11.48.26 AMThis summer, vacation travelers are more likely to stop to use the bathroom than any other activity, including buying gas or food and drinks, according to results of a nationwide consumer survey conducted by the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS).

Nearly three in four American drivers (72%) say that they stop to use the bathroom when driving on a vacation, compared to 68% who purchase gas and 66% who buy food or drinks. Female drivers are more likely than male drivers to stop to use the bathroom (77% vs. 66%).

Vacationers are also particular about the stores that they visit: 41% say that cleanliness and bathrooms influences their decision to visit a store, an increase from 36% who said so two years ago. Overall, the top two reasons that drivers say they select a place to stop are the gas price and the proximity to the area that they want to stop (48% for each). Quality food options was tied for third with bathrooms at 41%.

Nearly three in ten Americans (29%) say that they will take more time on vacation trips this summer and 86% of these vacationers say that they will travel by car. Vacationers are more likely to travel out of state (38%) than in state (26%).

Affordability is the primary reason the vast majority of vacationers plan to travel by car, cited by 59% of drivers. That’s up from 54% two summers ago, when gas prices averaged more than $3.60 per gallon. Two thirds of drivers in the Midwest (67%) cited affordability as a main reason to drive by car.

The ability to spend time with family was the second most-mentioned reason to travel by car, cited by 45% of Americans. However, there was a noticeable split by gender: while 51% of females say that car travel allows them to spend more time with family, only 39% of men say the same.

Wherever they’re headed, millions of Americans will be stopping and going inside convenience stores as part of their vacation. The top reasons that they will go inside a convenience store are to use the bathroom (70%), buy a drink (63%), buy a snack (57%) or buy a sandwich or other meal (26%). One in eight drivers (13%) say that they will not stop at a convenience store or gas station on their summer travels.

Overall, 17% of American drivers say that they are driving more because of low gas prices. Younger consumers ages 18 to 34 are most likely to say that gas prices allow then to drive more (29%) and older drivers ages 50 or more are least likely (6%).

“The classic long summer drive is evolving from stopping to take care of the car to stopping to take care of the travelers, whether that means using the bathroom or picking up food and drinks,” said NACS Vice President of Strategic Industry Initiatives Jeff Lenard. “Americans are seeking out stores that are more appealing inside with fresh food and an emphasis on cleanliness, and convenience stores are delivering, serving 160 million customers every day — and even more over the summer months.”

Overall, nearly nine in ten consumers (89%) say that low gas prices are good for the U.S. economy, down slightly from the 91% who indicated so in 2015.

Press release from


Younger Shoppers Want Stores

Younger Shoppers Want Stores

Younger Shoppers Want Stores 1

The “experience” generation has spoken & it’s not what you would think. Online retail has long been forecasted as the ultimate decline of the traditional brick & mortar, but not so so fast. Even though millennials spend ample time on every internet device possible, when it comes to shopping, they want to see-feel-touch the products they’re buying. Very interesting read below from

Gen Z and Millennials are big on physical stores—even more so than their older counterparts.

That’s one of the findings of a new research study by insights firm iModerate in which 74% of all respondents said it is important for brands to have a physical location  rather than solely selling online. Interestingly, 80% of Gen Zers and 82% of Millennials respondents said it is important, compared to 69% of Gen Xers and 65% of Boomers.

One of the biggest lures for in-store shopping is the assurance that comes from seeing, feeling and trying on merchandise, particularly items such as clothing, shoes and cosmetics, according to the study. This is especially true for first-time buying experiences.

“One of brick-and-mortar’s greatest advantages over other channels is that there’s an opportunity for shoppers to interact with products, and that gives them the confidence they need to make a purchase,” said iModerate CMO Adam Rossow. “Retailers can take even small steps to capitalize on these exploratory shopping habits, such as creating close-up experiences with new styles, providing samples and demos, and ensuring there are ample mirrors and fitting rooms.”

Big Box Stores: The study noted that  while big-box chains are likely affected by e-commerce more than other types of stores because they sell commodity products, they still appeal to busy shoppers who want quick, one-stop-shopping.

iModerate identified three factors that can tip the scales in either direction for big-box shoppers, and lead to different perceptions of the same brand:

  • Personnel – Big-box stores are often well staffed, but consumers complain that sales associates lack product knowledge.
  • Convenience – Although they carry a wide array of products, consumers find inconsistency with selection, layout, maintenance and management within each store, causing them to spend more time shopping than they’d like.
  • Layout – Larger stores with wider aisles allow for easier navigation, but these cavernous spaces can feel cluttered and dirty when not well maintained.

“When it comes to big-box stores, providing a consistent brand experience across every store is essential,” said Rossow. “Retailers should identify the locations that best uphold their brand promise, figure out what consumers love about them, and implement those best practices across all of their locations to the best of their ability.”

The study also revealed that each generation is looking to get something different from their store visits:

  • Gen Z – Seeks the reassurance found through the sensorial. Stores like Forever 21 enable them to try on various sizes and styles that are difficult to perfect online, and brands such as Sephora offer samples and demos.
  • Millennials – Seek efficiency and quality. Many are launching careers and have young families so they need to shop frequently, and favor big-box stores for their ability to quickly find everything they need in one place.
  • Gen X – Seeks an escape and discoveries.
  • Boomers – Seek comfort and space. They also value low music, light scents and seating.

iModerate conducted the  survey with 844 consumers who ranged in age from 15 to over 65, and who shop in a store or online at least monthly.



Exterior Lighting Upgrades Deliver Efficiency, Savings

Exterior Lighting Upgrades Deliver Efficiency, Savings

Exterior Lighting Upgrades Deliver Efficiency, Savings 2

Lighting systems have long been a target for maintenance and engineering managers seeking to reduce the energy use in their institutional and commercial facilities. Lighting systems tend to be low-hanging fruit when it comes to energy-saving opportunities. New lighting technologies and fixture designs, as well as improved control systems, have combined to provide relatively quick paybacks while allowing managers to improve the quality of lighting.

But managers also have opportunities to improve the quality of lighting and reduce energy use and maintenance costs outside of facilities. Lighting systems for parking lots, walkways, signage, and façades all offer potential savings for managers who are willing to invest time and effort. Most exterior lighting systems in use today are more than 20 years old. Technology changes and improvements in light-source efficiencies offer managers the potential for reducing energy use and maintenance costs by 40 percent or more.

With such potential savings, the first impulse is to rush into a lighting retrofit program that simply replaces existing lamps and ballasts or the entire fixture with new, higher-efficiency products. While a one-for-one replacement program is quick and easy, it might not offer the best return, and it might not solve existing lighting issues. One-for-one replacement assumes an existing system is the ideal system for its application and that managers only need to upgrade fixture efficiencies.

If managers are to maximize an upgrade to an exterior lighting system, they must consider such issues as light distribution, glare control, color rendering, and time of operation. Lighting system upgrades need plans, and a plan starts with an audit of existing systems and issues.

Part 2: Auditing Process Helps Managers Discover Lighting System Savings

Part 3: Place Focus of Exterior Lighting Projects on Fixtures

Part 4: LED, HID, Fluorescent Fixtures Among Exterior Lighting Options

*repost from