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Overstoring Called Major Retail Problem By Consultant G.A. Wright

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Gary A. Wright, a well-known retail consultant, claims that overstoring is the major problem that threatens retailing in the United States. The excess retail space, he says, poses a danger especially to smaller retailers that do not have the clout of the biggies. Wright, president and founder of the direct marketing and consulting business, G.A. Wright, Inc., based in Denver, looks at this and other issues in a just-published 24-page booklet, Retail Trends 1998. In addition to discussing the ever-growing glut of retail space in the United States, Wright also analyzes why retail expansion has not contributed to profitable growth. Wright also takes a look at retail prospects for the 1998 holiday season. He concludes that the percentage of consumer expenditures in December has changed very little over the past 10 years, although there have been some shifts in spending by merchandise segment. For example, December sales of furniture increased from 9.25% in 1987 to 9.74% in 1997, Wright observes. The 1998 edition of Wright's annual report on retail trends makes the point that smaller retailers should examine how others are using the concept of "lifestyle branding" and see how they can adapt this strategy to their own businesses. He cites the success of such lifestyle brands as Ralph Lauren and Martha Stewart. In a section called What Consumers Want, Wright describes the effects of an aging population and the changing priorities of this growing market segment. Wright also analyzes economic and consumer trends, and such retail issues as marketing, technology, store brands and private labels, and the role of the Internet. He discusses, too, how the retail business is changing, how smaller retail operators are threatened, what smaller retailers must do to survive and to create their own prosperity. His conclusions include a 21-point "prescription" for retailers to use in coping with changes that are currently taking place and for staying ahead of the competition, whether it is Wal-Mart or interactive retailing on the Internet. The new 24-page Retail Trends report is being mailed to G.A. Wright's retail clients and others who request it. Gary Wright, the president of G.A. Wright, Inc. has been a retail management consultant since establishing the company in 1981. The company, with headquarters at 4105 Holly Street, Denver, CO 80216, specializes in producing marketing programs tailored to the specific needs of individual retail companies. For more information e-mail: garyw@smtp.gawright.com

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