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US retailers turn to online as consumer conduct changes
Jul '16
The retail industry in the US is going through a form of evolution, maybe even a revolution. E-commerce has changed the way retailers sell, so that the major brick-and-mortar companies are looking at their individual stores, potentially closing what they consider unprofitable stores, and investing in e-commerce to continue to grow their business.

These are some of the observations from Marc Heller, President, CIT Commercial Services, a division of CIT Group Inc. a leading provider of commercial lending and leasing services, in “E-commerce Drives Retail Revolution” (cit.com/heller), the latest piece of market intelligence in a series of in-depth CIT executive Q&As.

“In apparel, millennials and teen consumers have different buying habits than their parents, which is reflected in millennials' preference for 'buying' one specific item, even when at a mall or a store, rather than 'shopping' for multiple items,” said Heller according to a CIT press release.

“This difference can be attributed to the fact that millennials are often accustomed to buying a specific item online rather than browsing for items in multiple stores. Consumers whose shopping behavior was established before the rise of e-commerce could be more likely to browse through a store or a mall, leading to the discovery of new items and greater sales.”

According to Heller, consumers are now favoring experiences over products. The apparel side of the business, as well as accessories, has slowed down. In the recent past, handbags, watches and leisurewear were booming. Those areas seem to have taken a significant step back, while consumers are spending more on restaurants, vacations and health spas. Consumers are favoring experiences over products, and retailers are reengineering their businesses as a result.

He also underlined that the furniture sector remains strong. Feedback at the furniture show in High Point, North Carolina, indicated that the show was extremely busy. A looming question in the furniture sector is whether the Asian suppliers will go direct to retail versus using furniture companies in the US to distribute.

Heller noted that consumer product companies that sell to retail still pursuing mergers and acquisitions.

“Consumer product companies that sell to retail are looking to acquire the front ends of businesses, because that gives them an increase in revenue. If the acquirer already has the back office, warehousing and sourcing in place, an acquisition can add significantly to the bottom line, especially if the company is acquiring a brand that sells to customers it doesn't presently have. Acquisition at the right price can sometimes be the key to growth,” he said. (SH)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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