Highlights from Retail Roundtable featuring Maggie Gilliam of Gilliam & Co. and Craig Johnson of Customer Growth Partners

August 18, 2011

With Craig Johnson’s forecast of BTS 2011 to be up 6.2% much of the conversation focused on his assumptions and process. There is a big difference between the street and Craig who focuses on disposable income instead of the traditional consumer confidence. Consumer confidence has a low correlation historically. With July sales up over 5.5% we are 1/3 of way thru the season and Craig is confident despite the budget crisis recently his numbers will still be very close.

 Off price apparel strong and value focus is still a key issue. Costs and pricing may be higher to pass on some margin but value still holding inflationary pressures down.

 Distinguishing winner brands will be key this holiday season. Male business is unusually strong. Department stores seeing full price sell through as are off price stores.

 Overseas and tourist business driving high end as well as those winning brands. Abercrombie best example of mall stores down and closing some but International and tourist located stores in US are still strong. Tiffany 5th avenue store is still great indicator.

Luxury up 11%, Value up 6% (ex WMT). Department stores are much better at catering to local needs (like old days) and better private label to drive increase in market share.

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