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The View from the Top

Wrapping up last week's analyst and investor conference, Lee Scott, president and ceo, outlined what he saw as the most important trends impacting global retailing:

  • Consumers economically pinched, especially in North America, with spillover effect hitting South Americans too, as U.S. workers send home less money.

  • Rising consumer affluence worldwide, with the population of people earning $5,000 or more per year expected to rise by 10% annually through 2015 — creating more consumers with more disposable income coming into the market, particularly in China, Brazil, India and Russia.

  • Increased use of technology by consumers will redefine how customers relate to each other, society and to retailers. The retailer that figures out how to best tap into that change will be “very, very successful.”

  • Retail competition getting better at all levels: technology, logistics, labor efficiency and value pricing. “This is not just the large retailers -- it's retailers of all sizes.”

  • Global energy prices impacting both individuals and business operations.

  • Economic nationalism a growing threat as globalization and free trade create anxiety around the world. Businesses need to “step up and participate in that debate and make sure it doesn't just become a populist issue.”

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