Retail Stores – The Top 100, Strategies, Trends and Statistics

Strategy Plan One

July 16, 2012

Retail Stores – The Top 100  

Realistically speaking and understating, it has been a rough go for the past while in the retail sector, similar to many others industries when the economy hit its bumps.   While the usual big box stores are on top in their expected rankings, other retailers have emerged, with differing strategies to engage and capture consumer attention.   The National Retail Federation (NRF) has just released the top retail stores report and some insight into those successful retail companies.

According to the NRF report, the business strategies of the top retailers are as varied as the list.  Some retailers are keen to develop expansion plans around urban development, while others find their niche in rural areas.  Depending on retail strategies, some retailers are integrating into the shopping mall model, while others are thinking outside the “mall” box.  It is apparent there is not one standard business and marketing strategy that works for all.

Some interesting strategic patterns have emerged across the top retail stores:

  • Long-term, consistent nature of the strategies
  • Successful strategies that center on the customer first, as strategies should
  • Differentiation that set those top performers apart from the competition
  • Retail strategies and stores focused on essential goods (food, drug, medical) remain strong through economic turbulence 
  • Online retail strategies continue to build

Top Retailers

See the rest of the Top 100 Retailers of 2012 at NRF Stores site

It is clear that in companies like Walmart and Amazon that to stay on top, that their low-cost provider strategy is still priority #1.  In some cases, in order to build long-term customer loyalty, retailers such as Amazon break-even or lose money on some items.  It has been predicted that these two low-cost providers are going to continue to grow over next 5 years.

Online retailers like Amazon illustrate success with their model of e-commerce, without the need for physical locations.  The trend will continue in this direction, as retailers may need to stay competitive by moving part of their operations into online retail expansions instead of expensive physical locations.

More Reading on Retail and the Customer

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US Economy – Business Trends and Statistics During the Obama Era

Strategy Plan One

July 8, 2012

US Economy

The global economy along with the US, experienced difficult economic and financial circumstances over the past few years.  CNN Money has put together and shared some interesting graphs on the economic and financial indicators during the Obama era.  Take a look at some of the results and trends over the past 3.5 years from January 2009 to June 2012.

US Economy – Job Growth

Although slow to dig out of negative job growth, the past 21 consecutive months have shown positive job growth.

Economic indicators - job growth

Unemployment Indicator – US economy

In January 2009, unemployment was sitting at 7.8%.  After a rough 2 year period of increased unemployment, the rate dropped to the current rate of 8.2%, which is now roughly half a percentage point off of the January 2009 figure.

US economy - Unemployment

US Economy – Economic Growth Indicator

Following a similar pattern to job growth, the economic growth GDP indicator illustrated 11 consecutive quarters in positive territory.  Last quarterly report indicated a 1.9% GDP growth rate.

US economy - economic growth GDP

US Economy – Inflation

With the initial period of harsh economics, inflation dipped into negative territory with the falling price of everything from goods, services and house values.  As the economy was slow to turn around, annual inflation started increasing, and during mid 2011, inflation was hitting an annualized rate of roughly 3.5%.  Inflation has now decreased to an annualized rate of under 2%, which can still hinder economic growth.

US economy - inflation

US Economy – Interest Rates

During the initial period of the Obama administration, interest rates climbed to almost 4%, but the respective 2 year period following, rates began to steadily decrease.  Interest rates are now sitting at lower than low rates, but how long can this be maintained.

US Economy - interest rates

To see more economic indicators during the Obama era, check out CNN Money’s article.

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July 4th – Independence Day Economic Data [infographic]

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July 4, 2012

July 4th Independence Day Data

Enjoy the day.  Check out the business and economic data on population, flags and fireworks in this infographic from ThomasNet :

July 4th - Independence day

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Construction Industry – April 2012 Economic Statistics Continue to Climb

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June 5, 2012 

Construction Industry – April 2012

US Census Bureau Statistics from the construction industry continue on a favorable trend, now estimated to be $820.7 Billion (seasonally adjusted annual rate) for April 2012.  This is significant up from the month of April 2011 with an increase of 7.3% over that month.  It also represents an increase of 0.3% over the March 2012 figure of the $818 Billion seasonally adjusted annual rate.

These are good economic indicator signs, with the construction industry steadily improving for three consecutive months, and follows favorable statistics released on residential construction and residential sales.

construction industry  - april 2012

The biggest gains occurred in the residential construction sector, growing at 2.6%.  However, non-residential construction represents the majority of construction.

Articles and blogs on economic indicators:

Construction Industry News


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Travel Industry – Statistics and Impacts on the US Economy

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June 3, 2012 

Travel Industry

When it comes to industries in the US, every sector generates massive economic benefits.  The US travel industry is no exception, approaching $2 Trillion in economic benefits generated from this industry.  The US Travel Association has developed great fact sheets illustrating the huge impact this industry has on the US economy.

Interesting to note on the travel industry:

  • $759 Billion in travel expenditures 
  • An estimated $118 Billion in taxes generated from travel industry
  • Over 14 Million jobs are supported; two-thirds of jobs in leisure travel sector

Travel industry - statistics

For those entrepreneurs in tourism and travel interested in the top sources of travel spending:

  • Food Services:  $189 Billion
  • Public Transportation: $140 Billion
  • Accommodations: $136 Billion

Travel industry - leisure travelTravel Industry – Leisure Travel

US statistics from 2010, showed domestic and international travelers spent $526 Billion, generating a tax base of $82 Billion.  Targeting the domestic travelers, the majority of trips (77%) are for leisure purposes.  From the US Travel Association surveys, top leisure travel itineraries include visiting family and friends, travel for shopping and hitting recreational spots.


Tourism and travel businesses may develop and craft their business and marketing plans around such important survey information.

Travel Industry – Business Travel

Travel industry - business travel

Business travel represents a significant share of the overall travel industry, at approximately $233 Billion and over 2 Million in jobs in 2010.  It’s staggering to see the 448 Million trips logged by US residents for business.  Another statistic of interest is the fact business travel acts as a catalyst for other business revenue, with an estimated $12.50 in additional revenue to businesses with every dollar spent on business travel.

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Economic Indicators – Residential Construction and Sales Showing Positive Signs

Strategy Plan One

May 23, 2012 

Economic Indicators – Residential Construction, Residential Sales

The positive one-two punch of residential construction and residential sales economic indicators are more signs of potential longer term economic recovery.  Recently released from the Census Bureau, both indicators are showing positive growth for April 2012.

Residential Sales

For April 2012, sales of new single family houses were at an annual rate of 343,000 (seasonally adjusted), representing a 3.3% increase over March 2012 and a good 9.9% jump over the April 2011 figures.

economic indicators - residential sales

Image Courtesy: Economic Publicist, FRED

The above graph illustrates some favorable trends in the US in sales growth occurring over the past year, but should be cautiously analyzed as fluctuations are occurring on a monthly basis.

Residential Construction

On another positive front, the US Census Bureau is reporting a 2.6% increase in privately owned housing starts in April 2012 over the previous month, and an impressive 29.9% increase over the April 2011 rate.

economic indicators - residential construction

Image courtesy:

The housing construction indicator graph closely mimics the housing sales graph above, as the indicators are closely tied together.


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Construction Spending – Construction Industry on the Rebound?

Strategy Plan One

April 13, 2012 

Construction Spending

Construction spending has one of the biggest impacts on economic indicators, as the construction industry is huge.  Construction spending gives us a picture of how well the construction industry is doing in the economy.  Construction, as a major employer is tied to employment and to the housing industry statistics.  The value of construction includes key cost categories such as labor, materials, professional services, and overhead costs.

The following graph from the US Census Bureau shows the trend in construction spending.  The data report indicates that in February 2012, construction spending was at almost $809 Billion, +5.8% increase over February 2011 data.  This represented a $45 Billion increase in construction spending year over year.  Private construction spending accounted for almost a $49 Billion net increase, while public construction spending dropped by nearly $4 Billion.

Overall, the construction industry is on the road to recovery it seems, but still not near the highs of over $1.2 Trillion in construction spending back in 2006.

Value of New Construction Chart



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