Zacks Industry Outlook Highlights: Staples, Macy's, Nordstrom and Chico's FAS

Zacks Industry Outlook Highlights: Staples, Macy's, Nordstrom and Chico's FAS

PR Newswire

CHICAGO, Nov. 20, 2013

CHICAGO, Nov. 20, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --Today, Zacks Equity Research discusses
the U.S. Retail, including Staples Inc. (Nasdaq:SPLS-Free Report), Macy's Inc.
(NYSE:M-Free Report), Nordstrom Inc. (NYSE:JWN-Free Report) and Chico's FAS
Inc. (NYSE:CHS-Free Report).

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20101027/ZIRLOGO)

Industry: Retail

Link: http://www.zacks.com/commentary/29993/

The retail industry is rapidly evolving with a dramatic change in consumer
buying habits. Satisfying customers and enriching buying experience require
new strategies from retailers today. Modern retailing, interestingly enough,
is a new game with new rules.

Despite the gradual rise in consumer discretionary purchases, the sluggish
U.S. economy and continued weak in Europe cannot be ignored. Burdened with the
lackluster scenario, retailers have largely concentrated on buyers' needs and
lured them with innovative products, attractive discounts, free shipping and
the ease of shopping through smartphones and tablets. However, these
strategies only helped in generating modest revenues.

Thus, retailers essentially need to come up with brilliant strategies, while
incorporating technological advancements and utilizing their real estate
portfolio to the optimum level. In short, they need to Experiment,
Differentiate, Optimize and Transform. In doing so, most retailers today are
adopting an "omnichannel" approach, utilizing all possible mediums to engage
consumers, including brick and mortar stores, online, and mobile.

Banking on this new mantra, Staples Inc. (Nasdaq:SPLS-Free Report), the
world's largest retailer of office products and services and second largest
online retailer, launched its first omnichannel stores, what it refers to as
"the future of retail."

Simply put, through this omnichannel strategy, Staples hopes to integrate its
retail network with enhanced digital capabilities. The company stated that
stores will incorporate its .com and mobile assets. Alongside, the stores will
feature Staples.com kiosks.

This new era store concept, with all its attractions could well prove to be a
game changer in the long run for Staples. Providing shoppers the ease of
shopping on their own terms and enriching their in-store shopping experience
could be a crucial point of differentiation among other retailers.

In harmony with the evolving retail industry, department store operator Macy's
Inc. (NYSE:M-Free Report) also adopted an omnichannel strategy. Despite
macroeconomic challenges and cautious consumer spending, Macy's continues to
post healthy results. Management largely attributes the credit to its
omnichannel strategy aimed at enhancing customers' shopping experience.

Other notable retailers who are dancing to the tune of the omnichannel
strategy include Nordstrom Inc. (NYSE:JWN-Free Report)and Chico's FAS Inc.
(NYSE:CHS-Free Report).

Trends to Rule Going Forward

Some of the trends that are expected to rule the retail sector going forward
include employing more technological solutions, incorporating customer
feedback and targeting additional audiences with products and services.

With the growth of the .com era, shoppers have largely adopted new purchasing
modes, using the Internet, mobile phones and tablets. Consumers today prefer
to use their laptops or smartphones to compare prices of products they want to
buy and place orders online, instead of visiting the company's stores. This
growing trend has guided major U.S. retail chains to downsize their physical
retail operations, and in turn develop their e-Commerce and m-Commerce sites
to attract customers.

Other traits that are expected to affect the retail industry are the growth of
self-service options for processes such as checking out and finding items in
stores. These offerings provide greater convenience and faster transactions,
and they satisfy shoppers who prefer to visit brick-and-mortar locations for
immediately purchasing predetermined items.

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