A select group of brick-and-mortar store managers maintained in a survey that sales momentum from the first half of 2022 should help buoy revenues through the end of the year.
The Levin Management Corp. Mid-Year Retail Sentiment Survey explored the first half of 2022 performance and outlook, hiring, technology use and related issues among tenants in the firm’s 120-property leasing and management portfolio.
In the research, almost 75% of respondents reported sales levels at or above 2021’s mid-year total, well above the decade-old survey’s historic average of 59%. In addition, 71% said shopper traffic volume is at the same or a higher level versus mid-2021, marking the second-highest percentage for the performance indicator in survey history, the survey indicated.
According to Levin, other manager responses included:
- 58% said economic shifts in the year’s first half affected their performance outlook for the second half of 2022 and 27% said they were not sure.
- 61% said they have raised or anticipate raising prices in response to inflation, a figure that is up from 54% in LMC’s 2022 Outlook Survey, conducted in January.
- 70% said they were actively hiring, with 59% saying it is harder to find qualified job candidates now than it was in the past, and while the figure is down about 20 points from LMC’s 2021 Mid-Year survey, the drop likely reflects the longevity of the issue rather than a turn in the right direction as the Department of Labor reported 1.1 million retail job openings in May, which compares to a historic peak of more than 1.3 million last summer.
- 72.6% said they offer an online option for purchasing goods, scheduling appointments or placing orders for pick-up, a figure that has gained steadily, up from approximately 50% in 2017.
- 66.3% are actively employing technology to analyze customer and/or sales data for the purpose of merchandising, creating services/menu options, planning in-location events or creating individualized special offers.
- 64.5% are employing digital coupons, discounts and/or loyalty points.
- 49.7% provide electronic receipts.
- 48.4% offer free Wi-Fi.
- 47.7% provide in-store online ordering with free shipping for out-of-stock items.
Among companies employing technology-centered marketing, the three most used tools are social media, email and text. Social media is tops at 79.8% The top two platforms tapped more frequently by social media users were Facebook, at 89.7%, and Instagram, at 73.5%. Among those with an active social media initiative, 52.2% are enhancing their presence with paid options such as Facebook/Instagram sponsored content or ads. Email is the next most popular tech marketing media, at 78.6%, with text messaging, at 49.4%, following.
“The strong sales results are no surprise, mirroring anecdotal accounts from tenants within our management portfolio as well as reports from industry sources,” Levin CEO Matthew Harding said in announcing the survey results, adding, “Adjusted expectations and uncertainties abound, for retail and the entire business community. Still, this industry is enjoying healthy momentum, though we do anticipate, and may already be seeing, a slight cooling off on spending as consumers react to inflation, higher interest rates and other socio-economic factors.”