According to a survey of more than 300 retailers by the NRF Foundation and KPMG LLP, many stores remain cautious but are looking to invest in growth opportunities again after surviving the Global Recession. Key areas include store expansion, social media, targeted marketing and advertising, employee retention, leadership development, adoption of handheld technology devices and kiosks and website personalization options.

The survey was part of the eighth annual Retail Horizons: Benchmarks for 2009, Forecasts for 2010.

A few survey highlights include:

  • 43% of survey respondents expect to maintain the same number of stores throughout 2010; 37% plan moderate to aggressive expansion.
  • 49% report that personalization of their website will be a major investment priority for 2010.
  • After 61% of respondents said customer acquisition was a big part of their initiatives in 2009, only 49% will focus on that in 2010.
  • 30% said they will focus on store allocation and markdown optimization over the next 18 months.
  • 67% said customer database/data mining will be a priority for 2010.
  • 32% cited both eTraining and self-service kiosks as a priority in the next 18 months.

“One of the overriding themes of the survey is that retailers are striving to do more with less. And we expect that this theme will continue into 2010 and beyond, said Mark Larson, Global Head of Retail, KPMG.

In 2009, retailers had overwhelmingly cited cost reduction as a top priority in store and field operations; human capital; marketing and advertising; and merchandising and IT.