Episode 21: 2021 Retail CFO Outlook: Overall Survey Findings

Announcer: Welcome to this episode of “60-second Retail” - a BDO podcast keeping you in-the-know on events and trends in retail and consumer products industry impacting your bottom line, in just a few short minutes.

Natalie: Hello, my name is Natalie Kotlyar. I am the National Leader of the Retail and Consumer Products industry group at BDO USA.  In this episode I would like to discuss some of the overall findings from the 2021 Retail CFO Outlook Survey. Our CFO Outlook Survey collects perspectives of CFO’s on their top challenges, issues, priorities and focus areas for the coming year, and we publish these results on our website.

Retail CFOs were dealt a bad hand in the last year as their industry faced the brunt of the impact of COVID-19.

Different retail sectors felt the initial impacts differently. Retailers offering essential goods such as PPE, hygienic products and everyday necessities couldn’t keep up with demand, while luxury retailers and those in certain apparel categories saw demand decrease in many cases. 

Today’s reality looks different from anything retailers could have ever imagined, calling for significant shifts in their strategies and goals. Whether by rebuilding their infrastructures, transforming their business models or right sizing their assets, retailers must meet today’s challenges by sharpening their focus on what matters most to their business.

What stood out most? Just how many retailers are in triage mode and how long they expect to
be there.

A mere 17% consider their businesses to be thriving now, compared to a full 73% last year.

It’s not a surprise that 91% applied for government assistance in response to the pandemic and 84% secured some sort of funding elsewhere.

The survey also showed 49% have enough cash in reserve to cover only 3 months or less of expenses.

Looking ahead to the next six months, almost all retail CFOs said they plan to secure additional outside funding.

Whether or not they are granted funding, retailers know what needs to be done: faster decision-making, accelerating digital transformation and innovative responses to demand shifts – we’ll discuss this more in depth in future episodes.

The bottom line is, for all retailers, to be resilient is to be radical, and while changes may need to be bold, they do not have to be expensive.  

Announcer: And that concludes this episode of BDO’s “60-second Retail” podcast.  Don’t forget to tune in for the next episode!  To find more information on our hosts, guests, BDO’s services, or listen to previous episodes of “60-second Retail”, please visit www.bdo.com/60-second-retail.



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