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Retailers Place Hopes On Omnichannel For Holiday Sales

How optimistic are retailers when predicting holiday sales for this year? Not especially, with an overwhelming 70 percent predicting sales will be pretty much as bad—or as good, for that matter—as last year, according to the eighth annual retail seasonal hiring survey from global management firm Hay Group.

Hay said that its surveyed merchants include J. Crew, Express, Sports Authority, Shopko, Carter’s, Stage Stores and QVC. “Respondents collectively represent (more than) one million employees and nearly $183 billion in revenues in 2013,” a Hay statement said.

Slightly less than one-fourth (24 percent) of respondents said they expected “a significant increase” in sales this holiday season, which was defined as five percent or better.

Craig Rowley, Vice President and Global Practice Leader for Hay Group’s retail practice, said the survey showed retailers acting cautiously. “Though we’ve seen GDP jump by more than four percent in the second quarter, the same economic bump hasn’t yet translated to the retail sector. Foot traffic remains slow and back-to-school shopping had a slow start this year, so retailers are being careful in their holiday season planning.”

The survey showed major growth in retail merged channel efforts, a development that is partially some optimism. “Nearly half (47 percent) of retailers surveyed in 2014 have a clearly articulated omnichannel strategy, compared with only 14 percent in 2013. Furthermore, only six percent of companies say they do not have a strategy, compared to 22 percent last year. The majority of retailers (71 percent) will be relying, at least in part, on their mobile platform to help drive holiday sales.”

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