Despite market issues, Canadian retailers expect to exceed revenue targets

Deloitte's latest poll finds that retailers plan to continue increasing digital investment.

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Despite rising inflation, a war in Ukraine and their counterparts in other countries facing new lockdown measures, executives at Canada’s big retailers are very upbeat about revenue prospects.

Deloitte’s 2022 Canadian retail outlook polled 30 executives working for firms reporting annual global revenues between $300 million and $50 billion, and it reveals 93% are confident in their organization’s ability to meet revenue targets, with 77% of those surveyed expecting them to even rise.

The numbers show even greater unanimity with respect to digital investments, with 97% of retail executives reporting they will be expanding capabilities, whilst 80% plan on bolstering data privacy and security.

They aren’t totally without worry, however. Topping the list of retail risks executives report keeping an eye on is supply chains (87%), with avoiding stock-outs an overwhelming priority (95%). These are followed by worker shortages and inflation (65%), further government actions reducing store capacity with successive COVID waves (39%) and plummeting consumer demand (26%) amidst economic uncertainty.

Both Canadian execs and their U.S. counterparts (below), see seamless experiences across channels as a key consumer expectation.

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Of those polled, 70% believe that staff-free, cashierless stores will be phenomena most likely to occur in the upcoming decade, while 47% of respondents believe retailers will increasingly engage consumers using the likes of digital goods sold through video games, NFTs or the meta-verse in the next ten years. What’s more, 40% of executives polled report that in the upcoming decade, the resale and second hands goods market will “grow significantly.”

Meanwhile, expectations for the consumer include an even greater priority given to Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG), though it also applies to the battle for top-tier talent. Of those polled, 63% say employees are more likely to prefer working at retailers with clear ESG investment objectives and initiatives, and the report notes that these have to be communicated more effectively and more frequently.

The Deloitte outlook says that retailers need to develop employee-centric strategies that make retail a fun and meaningful place to build a career. In fact, 63% of respondents plan to engage younger Canadians to promote retail opportunities, while 40% plan to better explain career advancement opportunities.