Overall, these CMOs are a little more bullish than others--predicting an average 5.03% increase in same-store sales, "a full percentage point higher than that of the National Retail Federation," the poll finds. "But that represents a large drop in optimism among retail CMOs, who predicted 7.8% growth for the 2006 holiday season." As recently as September, the same group had been predicting same-store sales gains of 5.6%. And it's worth noting that most of those polled-54%--say they expect same-store sales to be flat.
Consumers' fears about credit, these marketing executives say, will be the wild card of the season, with 27% naming credit as the external issue that will have the greatest influence on shopping behavior. Too-high energy costs--the bogeyman for many retailers last year--are still worrisome for about 22% of these CMOs, followed by the lousy housing market (17%), product safety (15%) and the stock market (14%).
And more than one-quarter--26%--report that the uproar surrounding Chinese imports has changed their inventory assortment; many of them are devoting greater marketing muscle to U.S.-made products as a result. (But only 15% of the respondents have actually changed their supply chains.)
Finally, the poll found that green products are getting an unexpected boost, with 37% of the CMOs saying they're expanding their "green" focus this season.