Retail IT Spending Expected to Increase in 2004

On the last day of its annual convention in New York, the National Retail Federation released a new study that shows retailers expect to increase IT spending in 2004.

Eighty three percent of more than 100 retailers surveyed expect to replace or upgrade point of sale systems this year, according to Retail Horizons: Benchmarks for 2003, Forecast for 2004, a report conducted by the National Retail Federation Foundation (NRFF) and BearingPoint, Inc.

“As the competition increases, retailers need to figure out how they can differentiate even more,” said Scott Hardy, a managing director with BearingPoint’s Retail/Wholesale practice. “Retailers are looking to POS in 2004 to provide real-time information to have a better understanding of the customer.”

Cost containment elsewhere in the retail channel remains a priority, the survey found. Cost containment played heavily into a deal also announced at the show. Publix Super Markets, a chain of more than 800 groceries in the southeast, selected supply chain solutions provider Manugistics Group to optimize its supply chain management system.

Sean Gibson, vice president for Manugistics, noted that eliminating costs from the supply chain and improving overall efficiencies is “especially critical in today’s competitive economic climate when retailers – and grocers in particular – are faced with the critical need to reduce costs while continuously improving customer service and loyalty.”

Retail Horizons: Benchmarks for 2003, Forecast for 2004 is the second annual survey conducted by the NRFF. It examines store and field operations, supply chain, customer relationship management, merchandising, advertising, human capital, information technology and marketing issues.

The National Retail Federation is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing more than 1.4 million retail establishments in the United States. The NRFF is its research arm. BearingPoint is a business consulting, systems integration and managed services firm.

The full study is available from the NRF Bookstore.


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