Retailers seeking growth opportunities are banking on more technology spending to power their brand. In fact, technology (59%) remains the top investment retailers are committing to in 2017, according to the TD Bank Asset-Based Lending Survey. Tech takes priority over investments in:
Business equipment (35%);
Big Data software (34%); and
The reason for the technology focus is that it is considered to be the biggest driver by far that impacts growth (48%). This is well above the percentage of execs that believe hiring (18%) and investments/M&A activity (18%) affect growth.
Election Results Create ‘Somewhat Positive’ Outlook
Nearly half (49%) of the respondents feel the recent presidential election and shift in administration will at least “somewhat positively” affect their business in 2017. On the other hand, 28% foresee at least a “somewhat negative” impact, while 23% see no major impact either way.
Regardless of their sentiments about the election results, 40% felt it is the biggest factor that can affect business operations in 2017, even more so than the local, national and global economies (30% each); rising interest rates (28%); and supply chain management (26%).
Despite the uncertainty regarding the election, 78% of respondents were either excited or optimistic for the 2017 outlook, with only 3% showing a negative outlook.
“The general sentiment among retail finance professionals is that 2017 will be a year for growth, but a lack of investment in technology could be a major barrier,” said Joseph Nemia, Head of Asset-Based Lending at TD Bank in a statement. “As such, waiting to develop a financing plan for key investments may be a losing strategy.”
TD Bank polled more than 150 treasurers, CFOs and other financial professionals from large retailers across the U.S. to understand their business outlook for the coming year. The bank also recently released a survey conducted during NRF 2017, in which 74% of retail executives interviewed expect their sales to increase in the next 12 months.