Concerns over staffing costs and online competition dampen retail outlook

Nearly one in three (30%) retail executives said wages growth would have the biggest impact on profit in the coming months, up more than 10 points from 19 per cent in February. This was echoed by wholesalers, where concern grew 12 percentage points to one in four (25%).

According to Dun & Bradstreet’s National Business Expectations Survey of retail, manufacturing and wholesale executives around the country, staff numbers are also facing scrutiny across sectors – with planned new employment down two points to an index of just five.

  • Sales expectations are up four points to an index of 20, 10 points above the recent low for September quarter 2011 and eight points above the 10-year average of 12;
  • Profits expectations are unchanged at an index of 8, remaining three points above the 10-year average index;
  • Employment expectations are down two points to an index of 5, just three points above the 10-year average index of 2; and
  • Capital investment expectations are down one point to an index of 9, and now four points above the average index (5) of the last 10 years.

Dun & Bradstreet CEO, Gareth Jones, said retail executives are looking to reduce overhead wherever possible, amid single digit sales (9)and profit (-1) expectations, and this has been reflected in the recent debate around industrial relations, in particular on penalty rates.

To read the full report click on the link:  Dun Bradstreet Business Expectations Survey March 2012