Retail Sales Will Remain Weak: Study

Sales for the food, discount and mass merchandise channels are projected to increase 2.4% this year — a decline from the 5% inflation-adjusted average growth rate for the years 1998 and 2008, according to a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers and Retail Forward.

NEW YORK — Sales for the food, discount and mass merchandise channels are projected to increase 2.4% this year — a decline from the 5% inflation-adjusted average growth rate for the years 1998 and 2008, according to a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers here and Retail Forward, Columbus, Ohio.

The report said supercenters and warehouse clubs are expected to generate the strongest sales growth this year, while supermarkets and discount department stores are likely to be the weakest performers. Although retail sales in general will remain flat this year, a rebound is expected in 2010, though growth will still remain below the 5% pace of prior years, the report noted.

“Retailers will recognize that future growth will come from tailoring existing stores to specific customer segments and local markets, rather than from adding stores,” a PwC spokeswoman said. Retailers also will need to “adopt more creative strategies, with more limited editions and small runs, to generate shopper excitement,” she added.

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