Study finds retailers ahead of manufacturers in driving sales growth

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. Retailers are now outpacing consumer packaged-goods companies when it comes to embracing the key issues driving new and sustainable top-line growth, according to a new study conducted by Meridian Consulting Group for the Global Market Development Center, the trade association for the general merchandise and health beauty wellness industries.

In four critical areas of strategy, process, structure and execution, retailers generally registered greater support for pursuing key growth drivers than did CPG companies. “Historically, manufacturers have been perceived as being ahead of retailers in terms of identifying new approaches and opportunities to drive growth,” stated Michael Shinall, Meridian chief executive officer. “This study suggests that the reverse is now true—that it’s retailers who tend to be more aggressive about tackling the issues that are most likely to result in business growth.”

“Growth is important to retailers and manufacturers, but retailers are often looking at broader business issues and tactics above single categories, while many manufacturers are still operating at category or even brand levels with a narrower set of solutions,” stated Ted Taft, managing director of Meridian. “This involves not only business solutions at store level, but stronger retailer emphasis on business processes such as reinvention and even implications for organization structure.”

“Retailers [have] placed top priority on developing new usage occasions and categories, as well as new services to enhance the shopping experience and create greater differentiation,” added Keith Wypyszynski, GMDC’s chief member officer.

The study, “Jump Starting Top-line Growth II,” is a follow-up to a 2005 report by GMDC and Meridian that examined the overall framework for growth and what was required to achieve success.

“Jump Starting Top-line Growth II” included an initial screener with 190 organizations across consumer packaged-goods and related industries. The study further combined quantitative surveys with retailers/wholesalers and manufacturers, as well as interviews and development of brief case studies to illustrate key points. Copies of the 20-page report were distributed to members of the GMDC, and are available by contacting GMDC.

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