Episode 22: 2021 Retail CFO Outlook: A Few Surprises

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, we are speaking with Jennifer Valdivia, Assurance Partner and West Region Leader, at BDO USA to discuss some of the more surprising findings coming out of BDO’s 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. Welcome Jennifer.

Jennifer: Thanks Natalie.

Natalie: So, Jennifer, what are the biggest changes you see from this survey in responses from last year?

Jennifer: Well there were some swings this year. I mean, these really included a few things and I'll start with the first being, you know how retailers classified themselves. So, compared to last year versus this year, meaning how did they classify themselves as thriving, surviving or struggling.

The second thing was the need to tap outside financing rose, which probably is no surprise to anybody.

And last, but not least, changes in the timing of a company's key initiatives.  So, what might have been a 10-year plan is really now a 2-year plan.

Natalie: So, let’s stick with the first thing you mentioned. I’m really curious to see how do retailers see themselves this year compared to last?

Jennifer: This was really surprising to me when I was looking at these results, and there's really kind of two categories I want to go with here. The first of which is the results from the survey from the current year, contrasted significantly from the prior year, especially with the classification of thrivers.

So, by definition, thrivers are profitable and experiencing growth. In the prior year, 73% of those surveyed classified themselves in this category, versus only 17% of respondents in the current year stated that they would be classified as thrivers. So huge swing there.

Additionally, the spread was just as significant or almost as significant for those who classified themselves as struggling. Only 2% in the prior year versus 41% in the current year classified themselves as struggling. Or, by definition again, those who were unprofitable and losing to the competition.

Certainly, the pandemic has made it very difficult for those in the retail space in light of at home restrictions and temporary store closures.

Natalie: Thank you Jennifer. I agree with you. Some of those numbers are truly outstanding, the difference from year to year. Thank you again and I look forward to speaking with you on future episodes.

Jennifer:  Thanks so much Natalie.

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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