For the fourth straight year, overall sales of retail fixtures look to continue to improve.
According to Klein Merriman, executive director of the Association for Retail Environments, “Based on A.R.E.’s Fall 2012 Revenue Survey, member companies overall forecast 10 percent growth for 2013,” he said. “In the same survey, 59 percent report that they expect their companies’ 2012 profits to have improved over 2011; 24 percent expect little change; and just 17 percent expect to see a decline in profits.”
He added, “The competitive landscape continues to shift in the retail environments industry. On one hand, the pattern of retail environments companies failing continued in 2012 with, unfortunately, no indication that the pace is likely to slow any time soon. On the other hand, we’ve also seen members broadening their focus by adding new manufacturing capabilities, providing new services, or entering new markets.”
One area has been international sales. “Some North American retailers continue to place an emphasis on international expansion simply because that’s where the growth is,” Merriman said. “And they are frequently looking to their North American vendors for assistance in expanding into these emerging markets. This international component presents a series of challenges, and opportunities, for A.R.E. members.”
Another growing area is sustainable/green certified products.  Merriman noted that A.R.E.’s Sustainability Council has identified several developments, challenges, and opportunities for the industry:
Sustainability is now assumed. Retailers and design teams expect projects to demonstrate some aspects of green building.
Certification is rarely the goal. Not every project with sustainable aspects is eligible for certification, but even among those that are, retailers tend to be reluctant to spend the extra money that certification entails.
The focus is on energy. Since energy-saving strategies provide a measurable return, they are often more attractive to retailers than other strategies such as sustainable products that may cost more without a measurable return.
FSC continues to dominate product ecolabel requests.
Customer values matter. Green building strategies and in-store communication are being influenced by the target demographics.

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