NEW YORK—Middle-market retail executives are bearish on a short-term U.S. economic recovery, according to CIT Group’s third annual Retail Finance Outlook study.
Prepared in association with Forbes Insights, the study polled 100 middle-market retail executives. Three-quarters of the responding executives said they expect the current economic crisis to extend into 2012 and beyond. In terms of their own businesses, however, the participants expressed cautious optimism—with about 60 percent expecting their sales to grow or grow significantly over the coming year. Almost three-quarters of the executives said they also expect sales during the upcoming holiday season to either grow or stay the same as last year.
Burt Feinberg, group head of CIT Commercial & Industrial, said the study also highlighted key factors affecting the retail sector. These include price-conscious consumers, waning consumer confidence, the increased influence of social media, rising commodity costs and consumer access to credit.
Regarding social media, nearly 60 percent of the executives said their companies are shifting marketing dollars away from old media to new media such as social-network campaigns. About the same percentage said their companies need to improve their marketing campaigns in new media, while 7 percent said their companies are “late starters” in new media.