Flush with cash, many retailers plan to spend on IT next year

Analytics tools eyed as key to business planning and growth

Despite the struggling economy, high unemployment and low consumer confidence, many retailers apparently have been able to stockpile a ton of cash.

Which means they'll start hiring any time, right? Sadly for the unemployed, no. But a new survey by advisory firm KPMG LLP of 100 high-level retail executives shows that nearly half intend to spend money on technology next year.

From Reuters:

Forty-seven percent of executives said they will be investing primarily in calendar year 2012 in analytical tools to improve company growth, expansion and planning.

The survey reveals that 72 percent of retailers report that they are flush with cash. Which sounds great, but it also sounds like some intend to hoard the money because of the economy.

More than half -- 56 percent -- "only expect a modest improvement in the economy, revenue, and hiring in 2012," according to Reuters.

Further, 40 percent of the retail executives surveyed by KPMG don't think the economy will full recover until at least 2013. And nearly one in four -- 23 percent -- said employee "headcount would never return to pre-recession levels," Reuters reported.

This is in stark contrast to a much more optimistic view expressed in last year's KMPG retail survey, in which the average projected date for a full U.S. economic recovery was March 2012.

And in the 2009 survey, the average recovery prediction was April 2011. Did I miss that recovery?

Bottom line: Retail executives have no idea when the economy will recover.

In the meantime, they'll do their best to make consumers buy stuff, even if they don't need it or can't afford it. As KPMG global retail leader Mark Larson explains to Reuters, "The customer's wallet is not going to be growing, so the game has to be to grab more of that wallet."

Ah, the glories of capitalism.

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