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Bad 2009, Better 2010

The Association of Retail Environments recently surveyed its members, mostly designers and producers of store fixtures, to learn about how 2009 went and how these members see 2010 unfolding. They found that, among the 90 companies that responded, the median sales decline in 2009 was 25%. On the flip side, these same respondents expressed a median expectation that sales will increase 10% in 2010. More detailed analysis will be forthcoming in the May/June issue of Retail Environments magazine.

Tusco Display participated in this survey and doesn’t find the results surprising. Companies across all industries have shrunk and feel chastened by the depths of our experiences. Today’s Wall Street Journal (3/2/10) highlights some of the facts concerning larger companies. If it’s true for them, it’s even truer for us smaller enterprises. Politicians, pundits and our own people eagerly want us to rehire and get growing but most business owners and managers will go slow, letting our clients and markets drive us to increase capacity.

Brand marketers like The Hershey Co aren’t going slow – thankfully – as they gear up for Easter season and the blooming of increasing demand. They are putting their marketing money where consumers spend theirs: in the store. Armed with new insights into shopper behavior and new tools to reach shoppers where they make most of their buying decisions, they are investing a sizable chunk of their $300 million budget to remake their in-store presence.

As shoppers return to stores and increase their buying, brands and retailers will be there to meet them at the point of decision. And that should make the anticipated 10% increase in store fixtures and point-of-purchase displays look wildly conservative a year from now.