Independent Retailers Continue Strong Confidence Entering Q4

Written by Doug Marsh

October 1, 2020

NMG Index moved up nearly a point, as retailers’ sales performance continues to stay strong 

As the industry continues to move forward in the face of numerous challenges, Independent retailers reported another month of strong confidence levels and sales performance. 

The third edition of the Nationwide Marketing Group Independent Retail Confidence Index (NMG Index) saw the overall confidence level increase nearly 2 points in October to 192.25 (from 190.57 in September). Percentage wise, the NMG Index moved up nearly 1 percent to 68.4% nearly reaching the August high of 68.5%, strongly tilting towards the more confident end of the scale. 

According to retailers’ open responses throughout the survey, confidence is high, but there is continued concern around product availability and backorders“Business is good and as long as we can continue to get product, we will be in great shape,” said one retailer. Another reported “It depends on product availability.”  Despite the supply chain challenges, retailers are for the most part continuing to see a steady flow of business as many parts of the country begin to “get back to normal” and stores reopen.  

Store Traffic 

Some retailers stressed concern over the election uncertainty, an uptick in COVID cases in some areas, as well as consumers learning more about the availability issues. That said, retailers continue to report high confidence in their ability to drive foot traffic. In fact, in the first three months of the NMG Index, confidence in retailers’ ability to drive traffic into their stores has outpaced their confidence in their ability to drive e-commerce sales.  

Retailers seeing stronger foot traffic in the past month point to a combination of increased awareness advertising and consumers demand staying high. On the other end of that spectrum, retailers who reported lower confidence in their ability to drive foot traffic have still seen their sales up. Traffic is down overall but sales are up, I would like to see traffic increase but as long as those coming in are buying it is good,” said one retailer. 

Sales Goal Performance 

And beyond their strong foot traffic confidence, Independent retailers have maintained an exceptionally high success rate converting that foot traffic into actual sales.  

Although those coming in short of their goal has increased some, the NMG Index survey found that nearly 70% exceeded their sales goal, with 54% of all retailers exceeding that goal by more than 11%.  

 Product Confidence 

The product categories month-over-month for the NMG Index were almost identical. Looked at on a scale of 1-to-10 (where 10 is the “most confident”), the 18 product categories garnered an average score of 6.55 in OctoberLast month, the average score checked in at 6.52. 

If you are interested in participating in the monthly NMG Index survey, you can sign up right here to have the survey delivered directly to your email. 

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