Editor's Note: A Fresh Start
I know what you're thinking: the dreaded January editor's note. Another blowhard editor droning on and on about how great the year ahead looks for the industry they cover.
Well folks, you know me well. But I think I/you/we have the right to gloat. After more than seven quarters of depressing news, retailers have some serious smiling to do. After all, they had a whiz-bang fourth quarter. Just look at these statistics, which crossed my desk in mid-December as I wrote this column:
- Monday, Dec. 13, known as "Green Monday" (the second Monday in December when online spending historically has tended to peak), reached $954 million in online sales, representing a 12 percent increase vs. last year, according to comScore.
- Import cargo volume at the nation's major retail container ports is expected to be up 9 percent in December over the same month last year, and 2010 should end with a 17 percent increase over last year, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.
- After a solid start to the holiday season, the National Retail Federation revised its holiday retail sales forecast to 3.3 percent, up from 2.3 percent. The upward revision was due to improvement in a variety of economic indicators, including stock market gains, recent income growth, savings built up during the recession — all giving consumers the capacity to spend more.
Whew! Good news all around, in both the online and offline retail worlds. And that's not all. Retailers are expecting the good times to roll right into the new year, at least according to a panel of cross-channel retailers who gave their forecasts for 2011 to Retail Online Integration (see page 14 of this issue for all the details). The title of the feature — Clear Skies Ahead: Recovery and Growth Forecasted for 2011 — says it all: Retailers are optimistic about 2011.
We're optimistic for a great year here at Retail Online Integration as well. For starters, we have an exciting group of cross-channel retailing executives and influencers on our newly formed editorial advisory board (for more information about them, check out page 11). We're excited to get their sage advice and perspectives as we build out our brand. We're also looking forward to some great events this year, including a continuation of our popular virtual Retailer Roundtables as well as two Retail Marketing Virtual Conferences & Expos. (Mark your calendar: the first one is slated for April 14.) As always, we'd love to hear from you as well. Please feel free to drop me a line with ideas, comments or questions anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.