By Matt Pillar, Integrated Solutions For Retailers magazine
Our annual report on retailers' 2011 systems successes, failures, and spending priorities for the coming year provides a unique look into the state of the industry.
As the economy goes, so goes retail. Sure, in terms of share of GDP, our industry doesn't carry nearly the ground-shaking heft of the fraught-with-trouble government, financial, manufacturing, and real estate sectors. But, when the 46% of our national GDP composed of those collective sectors staggers, we certainly suffer the consequences. Retail is a most unfortunate victim to slumping consumer confidence, impulsive (increasingly compulsive) saving, poverty, and certainly unemployment, given our industry's standing as the employer of 18.3 out of every 100 American workers. That's the largest single chunk of the workforce, bigger even than big government, making a chronic unemployment rate of more than 9% all the more painful.