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Fitch Ratings: U.S. retail sales to grow 3% to 4% in 2017

Retailers and restaurants in the United States won’t get any relief in 2017 in the battle to win customers.
That’s according to Fitch Ratings’ Outlook report, which says that retailers will continue to face a competitive environment in 2017 as they navigate changing customer preferences.
Fitch projects U.S. retail sales, excluding automobiles and gasoline, will grow 3% to 4% in 2017, which is in line with the 3.8% forecasted for 2016 due to a generally consistent economic backdrop. Retailers on a positive trajectory will include Dollar Tree, Burlington Stores, Levi Strauss, Coach and J.C. Penney, according to Fitch. Sears, Claire’s Stores, Gymboree, Abercrombie & Fitch, Vince and Bon-Ton will be challenged to maintain share, liquidity and positive same-store sales.
Facing a shift in customer shopping habits and attitudes toward discretionary expenditures, many retailers have responded by moving to omnichannel models that holistically serve the customer across their online and bricks-and-mortar presence.
“Spending focus on services and experiences appears here to stay, so the dividing line between best-in-class retailers and market share donors is increasingly going to be determined by which retailers can cater to the evolving landscape,” says David Silverman, senior director, U.S. Corporates. “Those that find success have invested in the omnichannel model and have differentiated their products and customer service to draw customers in.”
The full report, “2017 Outlook: U.S. Retail and Restaurants,” is available at Fitchratings.com.