RetailWire's 2008 List of Retailing Turning Points - A Year of Retailing Dangerously

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Online forum has reviewed a tumultuous year's-worth of daily retail industry advice and viewpoints to compile its first annual "Turning Points" list of most significant issues, trends and future opportunities.

The year 2008 will go down in retailing history as one of the most tumultuous on record. A global recession, a flood of bankruptcies, changing consumer shopping behavior, advances in technology, and sustainability as a business imperative are just some of the factors that have shaped the industry this year and will, no doubt, greatly influence its future direction.

As an online forum serving retailing professionals, sees the reaction to events reflected in the daily commentary of its BrainTrust of retailing experts and website subscribers. This year, RetailWire's editors have noted a particular intensity in the dialogue as panelists attempted to sort out the reactions, over-reactions and strategic repositioning of retail chains, product manufacturers and tech solutions providers.

To summarize what might be characterized as this "year of retailing dangerously," has complied its first annual list of most significant "Turning Points." In coming weeks, will present these items as individual interactive discussions, as always providing an open forum for some of the industry's best minds to dissect problems and anticipate the next wave of innovation.

RetailWire's Turning Points in Retailing - 2008:

A No Good, Very Bad Retailing Year - Retail performance in 2008, with some notable exceptions, has stunk. What lessons are to be learned from all the bankruptcies, desperate price cutting and other bad news, and when will there be good news to look forward to?

The Price Point is Right - Manufacturers mindful of decreased consumer purchasing power and the need to protect corporate margins have tried a combination of tactics including multi-stage price increases and package downsizing. How will consumers react to these moves by brands and how will private label products be affected?

Organic Plateau - The economy and decreases in disposable income have clearly put a damper on the sale of organic foods and other products. Have green foods gone as far as they can go?

Technology is King - Companies continue to see information resources and applications that improve operational efficiency - especially where 'green' agendas can also be served - as assets requiring further investment, even as cutbacks are made in other areas. What technologies promise the greatest return and are right for the sustainability challenges faced by retail?

Global Economics - Protectionism is not seen as the way forward but the urge to withdraw inward is natural in times of economic strife. What will sourcing, particularly from Asian nations, look like in the year ahead and how does the domestic industry make the case that manufacturing overseas offers real net benefits for Americans?

Print No More - Newspaper and magazine circulation is down, consumers are turning to electronic coupons rather than FSIs, snail mail is more expensive and often less effective than email. What is the future of print vehicles from a retail marketing perspective?

Digital Evolution - Marketing attempts to go where the consumers are heading, with social media, e-commerce sites, email and mobile marketing. Where will marketers find the most receptive audiences?

Shining the Apple - Apple's success with the iPod, iTunes, iPhone and its line of laptop and personal computers has made it virtually recession proof while so many others have faltered. What's behind Apple's success?

Shopper Marketing ROI - Influencing purchases at the point-of-purchase is the oldest of strategies but is being repositioned as a new game with some exciting new twists. What new in-store marketing vehicles are driving sales and what will the next generation of p-o-p look like?

There's No Place Like Home - Less disposable income and concerns about whether jobs will disappear tomorrow has many consumers living simpler lives. What does a population of homebodies mean for retailers and brand marketers?

No Small Order - Tesco, Walmart, Safeway and Supervalu are just some of the chains looking to go small. Will small format grocery stores put a dent into big boxes and what do changes in the consumer marketplace mean for the shape of stores to come?

Walmart's New Image - Some would still portray the world's largest merchant as the retailing equivalent of Darth Vader but there's no doubt the company has made changes in recent years that have more people viewing it as having turned its back on the dark side. What steps has Walmart taken to so effectively remake its public image?


RetailWire is a unique online news analysis and discussion forum, which launched in February 2002. RetailWire goes beyond conventional headline news reporting. Each business morning, RetailWire editors pick news topics worthy of commentary by its "BrainTrust" panel of industry experts, and the general RetailWire membership. The results are virtual round tables of industry opinion and advice covering key dynamics and issues affecting the retailing industry.

Membership to RetailWire is free to all qualified retail industry professionals. Over two-thirds of members are in top executive or senior management positions, representing a broad cross section of retail channels and the companies that supply them.

RetailWire is supported by sponsorships from leading retail suppliers and service organizations. Sponsorship packages take the form of information-rich "Business TIPS" and online seminars. Current sponsors include P&G, Nielsen, Campbell Soup, Unilever, Nestlé Purina, DemandTec, Oracle, SmartReply, Diamond Management & Technology Consultants, Interactive Edge and HCL.

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For sponsorship information, contact:
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Editorial inquiries, contact:
George Anderson - 908-325-2499


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