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Deloitte says: Retailers must invest to beat recession

Isn't spending too much how we got into this problem in the first place? Well, Deloitte says it might also be the solution -- for retailers, that is:

"This downturn, while difficult, does provide opportunity for retailers to become more competitive and increase market share," Stacy Janiak, U.S. retail leader for Deloitte LLP, told the National Retail Federation's annual conference held in New York.

Janiak said retailers who stay the course and ignore investments in strategic IT programs will not be equipped to lure consumers who are both seeking value and information.

For instance, even as retailers slow their hiring, they can still train workers to provide a better shopping experience, she said.

"Even though you may be reducing your workforce today, you must invest to ensure that those who remain are well-equipped to continue with customer centricity and deliver that desired shopping experience," Janiak said.

Our take:

Our understanding is that retailers will still readily spend money on things -- whether technological or not -- that can help them reduce costs by increasing efficiency.  However, things that are primarily designed to boost sales will be the first to be put on hold when budgets get tightened. Thus, while Deloitte's overall notion that spending should increase might correctly be the best way to help retailers survive, equally important is what they're going to be spending that money on.

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