retail news in context, analysis with attitude

CIES is out with its annual “Top Of Mind” survey, and not surprisingly “the economy and consumer demand” is the number one issue on industry executives’ minds, followed by food safety, which has the number two position for the second year in a row.

However, as often happens in this survey, retailers seem to have a different set of priorities than retailers…at least once you get past recession-driven economic concerns.

The survey is based on a sample of nearly 600 retail and manufacturing decision makers across food and consumer goods industries in 54 countries.

This is how the overall breakings broke out:

1. The economy and consumer demand
2. Food safety
3. Corporate responsibility
4. The competitive landscape
5. Retailer-supplier relations
6. The “retail brand”
7. Consumer health and nutrition
8. Consumer marketing
9. Technology and supply chain issues
10. Human resources
11. Internationalization
12. Operational issues (store openings, pricing, labeling)

Retailers saw the world this way:

1. The economy and consumer demand
2. The “retail brand”
3. The competitive landscape
4. Food safety
5. Corporate responsibility
6. Retailer-supplier relations
7. Consumer health and nutrition
8. Technology and supply chain issues
9. Consumer marketing
10. Human resources
11. Operational issues (store openings, pricing, labeling)
12. Internationalization

And, manufacturers had a somewhat different view of the world:

1. The economy and consumer demand
2. Corporate responsibility
3. Retailer-supplier relations
4. Food safety (tied with Consumer Health & Nutrition)
5. Consumer Health & Nutrition (tied with Food safety)
6. The competitive landscape
7. The “retail brand”
8. Consumer marketing
9. Technology and supply chain issues
10. Internationalization
11. Human resources
12. Operational issues (store openings, pricing, labeling)

KC's View:
You can debate these priorities all day long, but I will make one point.

It seems to me at least a little worrisome that “human resources” is a little low on the list. Not surprising, but worrisome. Because if retailing and manufacturing executives alike do not pay attention to the people on the front lines – understanding that they are no better than their employees – then they have little hope of achieving excellence in all these other areas.

This may just be semantics. But at the very least, businesses need to keep this in mind.