As we hit the mid-point of 2022, we’re still dealing with the impacts of a global pandemic, supply chain disruptions and inflation, yet consumers and retailers remain resilient. National Retail Federation President and CEO Matthew Shay joins Retail Gets Real this week to share insights about the state of retail and what’s in store for the coming months.
Learn more about inflation and NRF's Lower Inflation Now campaign.
Shay noted that retailers are coming off an incredibly strong 2021, and positive momentum continued through the first quarter of 2022, but as inflationary pressures rise, consumers are feeling it. “Ultimately the state of retail is a reflection of the state of consumers,” Shay said. “Consumers are starting to feel the impact of inflation on virtually everything they're buying, especially consumers and households that have relatively lower income levels. Whether it's food or energy or many of the other things they need for their families, pricing is really starting to have an impact, and I think that's concern for the economy broadly as we go forward.”
While we wait for the impact of some of the Federal Reserve’s actions, NRF is also advocating for other solutions to ease the pressure. NRF’s ongoing Lower Inflation Now campaign advocates for actions including repealing tariffs and addressing the broken immigration system that contributes to an ongoing labor shortage and workforce challenges. The third component was passing the Ocean Shipping Reform Act, which President Biden signed into law earlier this month.
Shay noted that throughout his recent visits to the World Economic Forum, Global Department Store Summit and the White House, inflation has been the hot topic of conversation, not just in terms of policy, but in how to better serve customers during this time. “Retailers recognize that they have to keep finding new and creative ways to deliver value. The heartening part about this is that, in spite of the challenges and the reality of the environment, I think there's optimism that we can continue to serve customers and give them great experiences.”
Listen to the full episode to learn more about why Shay sees an opportunity for retailers to lead on sustainability and how business leaders can get more involved with NRF.