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A new survey by the National Retail Federation (NRF) suggests that retailers expect to increase their technology spending in 2004, with 83 percent of those surveyed saying that they plan to replace or upgrade current point-of-sale software systems.

In analyzing this year’s survey data,, according to NRF, "the three currents of change of last year -- moving toward greater customer-centricity, traveling along the data-knowledge-action continuum and shifting toward a boundaryless business model -- were reaffirmed with the addition of a fourth current: the need for retailers to be on a greatly accelerated path to differentiate themselves from the competition."

Other key findings of the study include:

  • Cost containment is the number one priority.

  • Three-quarters of retailers segment their customer bases by loyalty, and two-thirds also do so by customer preferences.

  • Almost half say that private label development is a high priority.

  • More than eight out of 10 say that better training of associates is a key initiative.

  • About a third of the respondents say they will focus on micro-merchandising and multicultural marketing.

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