Traditional U.S. retailers are continuing to lose market share, in the face of competition from mass merchandisers and club stores, among others. That's the conclusion of a new report from Euler Hermes ACI, the provider of global trade management services. The firm's latest U.S. Industry Outlook finds that competition for the consumer's dollar is intensifying. "To that end, traditional retailers are continuing to feel the pressure brought on by the larger mass retailers, such as Wal-Mart and Target," says Steve Lapsley, risk vice president and industry manager with Euler Hermes. Drug stores and sporting-goods retailers are both feeling the heat from mass retail outlets, with Wal-Mart ranking as the leading seller of sporting goods, and cutting into the drug business with its $4 generic prescription program. At the same time, club stores and grocery stores are slugging it out in the food retailing arena. Food is the leading sales category for all three major club stores-Costco, Sam's Club and BJ's, says Lapsley. Their growing strength will cause further consolidation in the grocery industry. Retailers can achieve some measure of competitive advantage, says Euler Hermes, through the use of trade credit insurance, third-party commercial collections and other outside services related to accounts receivable.
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