There’s a mix bag of interesting and obvious in this years ‘State of the Industry’ report.
While many publications have focused articles in recent years about the number of store closings, not surprisingly the data shows there’s significantly more happening than simply whose staying open.
A few key take aways from the report show while competitive pricing pressures continued to weigh down many Christian stores who saw an overall sales decline of 3.6% in 2017 over 2016. That number is lower than the 6 percent decline in receipt counts. The discrepancy in receipts to sales is largely attributed to retailers being able to serve and sell customers when they did come into the store.
Some experts believe the personal one on one sales help, will be one of the defining factors in helping stores rebound. A greater emphasis on personal service and a more custom shopping experience is being attributed as a major reason why the bigger book stores are struggling. Nationwide, bookstore sales declined about 3 percent, from $11.7 billion to $10.7 billion, according to Census Bureau reports.
Total 2017 retail sales however,(excluding motor vehicle and parts dealers) inched up about 2 percent compared to 2016, according to the Census Bureau.
Overall the numbers continue to reflect business models that are not leveraging online sales and have antiquated business models. And not surprising Family Christian bankruptcy is still effecting numbers, but…. And it’s an important qualifier.
25 percent of those responding to the study reported an increase in sales with another 7 percent reporting flat sales.
With a greater focus by consumers on convenience and values, Christian Retail is uniquely positioned for a turn around.
While most stores still have a limited focus for online sales, those stores promoting products on social media platforms are driving more sales online and are taking advantage of technology to build community awareness.
The Data also concludes that consumers aren’t just focused on competitive pricing, but the C.A.E. effect – convenience, access and experience.