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The SNEWS® Mini-Survey that ended March 26, 2009 asked, “What are you doing differently to help your retail business survive the current economy?” It was refreshing to read that more than seven of 10 (71 percent) of our respondents indicated they were emphasizing more customer service and follow-up. Not surprisingly, more than two-thirds or 68 percent responded that they were “keeping their inventories leaner” while 53 percent indicated they were carrying fewer SKUs in their stores.
As a bit of a wake-up call to suppliers and manufacturers, nearly half of respondents or 47 percent stated they were cutting out “marginal suppliers.” It was also interesting to note that 44 percent were relying on holding special in-store events with the goal of attracting new customers.
What did surprise us a bit in the results is that only 29 percent of our retail respondents indicated they were seeking to negotiate rent decreases or moving to cheaper space. Several reports in our ongoing economic series, which can be found by clicking here, point out that renegotiating leases is a valuable retail survival tool during this economic downturn, and we do know from conversations with some retailers who have done this that savings have been substantial.
And as for seeking to match prices with competitors, including big box, we were pleasantly surprised to see only 17 percent of our survey respondents indicated this was one of their strategies. Indeed price competition is a course of action that retail experts have also noted is not the way to win the war.
Our new survey question, “Have you found social networking sites to be beneficial to your business?” is now live and awaiting your feedback. We look forward to hearing if you use these sites as a part of your business and, if so, which ones.
To make your vote count, simply go to the SNEWS Reader Poll section in the right navigation bar of every web page in SNEWS or, click here.