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What's hot in retail - January '13

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The first edition of "what's hot" in 2013 comes on the heels of another record-breaking Retail's BIG Show. Some 27,600 retail professionals from around the world flocked to the Javits Convention Center in New York to jump start the New Year. From a jam-packed EXPO showcasing the next great innovations to impassioned speeches from the likes of Kofi Annan and Walmart U.S. CEO Bill Simon, Retail's BIG Show 2013 had just about everything. Also unveiled was NRF's 2012 Annual Report, a month-by-month recap of the biggest policy and industry stories from past year. The report serves as interactive road map to the fight for smarter health care reform, the NRF Foundation's pledge to pave the way for the next generation of retail leaders and a recap of's Summit as part of leading the industry on digital retail - just to name a few. Now let's read on for a recap of the stories most read by your peers last month.

NRF Information:

  •  NRF's 4-5-4 calendar and the release of the monthly reporting dates for 2013 earned the top spot for the month. This voluntary reporting guide ensures sales comparability between years by dividing the year into months based on a four-weeks/five-weeks/four-weeks format. To learn how the 53-week calendar is created, visit the 4-5-4 calendar FAQ page.
  • December retail sales were announced at Retail's BIG Show. Holiday retail sales were up 3 percent for the year but fell short of NRF's forecast of 4.1 percent. Non-store holiday sales grew 11.1 percent, just missing's projection of 12 percent growth during November and December.
  • Three keynote sessions at Retail's BIG Show were live-streamed for those unable to make the trip to New York. If you missed the presentations, have no fear. Each keynote is still available to watch for free. There's also a quick Retail's BIG Show 2013 recap video highlighting some of the scenes from the event.
  • Just last week, NRF released the 2013 economic forecast for the retail industry. A number of lingering economic factors resulted in a subdued projection of 3.4 percent increase in retail sales for the year. However, e-commerce sales are expected to grow between 9 percent and 12 percent in 2013, according to
  • Just after New Years, the NRF Foundation revealed the winners of this year's Aspire2Retail Intercollegiate Challenge. The challenge required students to tackle the hot topic of showrooming and explore opportunities and threats that come with it. Joining the discussion with retail executives at Retail's BIG Show, students explained that showrooming isn’t going away, and why the answer is improving the customer experience.

Top blog posts from Retail’s BIG Blog and

Top retail news stories in NRF SmartBrief: