Posts Tagged ‘CIT’
Thursday, October 20th, 2011
Middle market retail executives are bearish on a short-term U.S. economic recovery, even though many expect their own companies to improve faster than the industry, according to the third annual Retail Finance Outlook study released by CIT Group Inc. (NYSE: CIT), a provider of financing to small businesses and middle market companies.
While a majority of retail executives expect business to improve in the coming months, they remain cautious when it comes to increasing staff levels, building inventory, and assessing the availability of credit—especially for their customers.
These are some of the findings detailed in the research study, “Retail Finance Outlook 2011” , which was prepared in association with Forbes Insights. The study gathered the views of more than 100 middle market retail executives to assess their opinions on the U.S. economy and retail financing, as well as their views concerning prospects for their own companies and the retail industry as a whole.
“Retail executives maintain a sense of optimism about their own business growth prospects, even while they continue to sour on the idea of a quick recovery of the U.S. economy,” said Burt Feinberg, Group Head of CIT Commercial & Industrial. “This study highlights some of the key factors affecting the retail sector, including the price-conscious consumer, waning consumer confidence, the increased influence of social media, rising commodity costs, and consumer access to credit.”
Key Findings from the Study:
- NO END IN SIGHT TO FINANCIAL CRISIS: Retail executives remain pessimistic about the U.S. economy, with three-quarters expecting the crisis to extend into 2012 or beyond. A return to growth in the financial markets is also seen as taking some time, as 58% of retail executives don’t see growth resuming until 2013 or later.
- FUTURE SALES GROWTH TO INCREASE: Retail executives remain cautiously optimistic about their outlook for the coming 12 months. Nearly 60% predict sales will either grow (51%) or grow significantly (8%), with just 9% of executives predicting a sales decline in the next 12 months. Compared with the Retail Finance Outlook 2010 study, retailer optimism has been tempered. Last year, 22% of executives foresaw significant growth, and 68% predicted overall expected growth. The number of executives who predicted any decline in sales was just 2% in 2010.
- CAUTIOUS OPTIMISM FOR THE HOLIDAY SEASON: Nearly three-quarters of executives see sales improving slightly (38%) or staying about the same (36%) as last year for the overall season. Sensing that price-conscious consumers will be looking for bargains this year, 37% of executives predict an increase in last-minute shopping, while 38% expect post-Christmas shopping days to be stronger. On a related note, nearly half of executives believe both broad discounting and the price of fuel will be driving factors in consumers’ decision to spend.
- NEW MEDIA MARKETING LEADING GROWTH OPPORTUNITIES: Nearly six in ten executives report their companies are shifting marketing dollars away from old media toward new media, such as social media campaigns. As part of that shift, 68% of respondents report increases in marketing and deals through social media channels, including Facebook and Twitter. In addition, 63% report that their Web sales are growing (28%) or growing faster than other channels (35%).
- SHIFT TO NEW MEDIA WILL CONTINUE: In a sign that this trend will continue, some 58% of retail executives believe they need to improve their new media marketing strategies, while a further 7% characterize their companies as “late starters” in the new media game.
- HEALTH CARE COSTS AND REGULATIONS WIDELY SEEN AS NEGATIVE: More than any other topic presented, health care costs and regulations appear to weigh most heavily on the minds of retail executives. Over the next 12 months, nearly two-thirds of executives believe changes in health care costs and regulations will be negative (38%) or strongly negative (25%) for their businesses. Just 6% of executives view them as positive for their businesses.
- RETAIL FINANCING READILY AVAILABLE: Nearly half of retail executives say their ability to secure financing has not improved or has worsened in the past year. For the year ahead, half of executives expect the availability of financing to be stable, while 30% expect availability to improve and only 10% expect it to worsen.
- SKEPTICISM AROUND CONSUMER ACCESS TO CREDIT: Retail executives expressed concern about consumers’ ability to finance their own purchases and household costs. When looking ahead to the next 12 months, a third of retailers see consumer access to credit worsening and 22% see it improving, while the remaining 44% expect little change. Interestingly, 22% of executives expect to increase the lines of credit they can extend to consumers in the coming year as well. A smaller percentage (17%) foresees restricting credit to their customers.
- COMMODITY COSTS CAUSING CONCERN: More than half of retail executives see rising energy costs as being negative (47%) or strongly negative (8%) for business in the 12 months ahead. When asked about raw materials costs, 59% of executives said they feel either negative (48%) or strongly negative (11%) about non-energy commodity costs in the coming year.
Monday, August 15th, 2011
Technology value-added resellers are increasingly focused on selling managed services to help small- and middle market businesses monitor, manage, and maintain their IT networks and equipment. However, according to a new study released by CIT Group Inc. (NYSE:CIT), a provider of global vendor financing solutions, the benefits of offloading IT services – lower costs, increased available resources, and reduced IT headcount – are not fully understood by many SMBs.
This lack of understanding serves as the biggest barrier to VARs as they look to sell managed services to SMBs. Managed services offer third-party monitoring, managing and maintaining of computers, networks, software, and other IT.
The research report, “Technology Channel Outlook: Are SMBs Ready to Embrace Managed Services,” prepared in association withForbes Insights, gathered the views of more than 100 executives at technology value-added resellers and technology channel partners that sell to SMBs.
“The findings of this study are consistent with our experience in financing managed service contracts,” said Ron Arrington, Global President of Vendor Finance at CIT. “We have found that the most successful managed services programs are those in which the VAR clearly articulates the offering and quantifies the impact for the SMB. Likewise, when an SMB is committed to implementing a managed services solution, it soon realizes that it can play an important role in the growth plans and expense management of the company.”
Key Findings from the Report:
- OPPORTUNITY TO EDUCATE: Nearly two-thirds (62%) of respondents agreed (54%) or strongly agreed (8%) that their customers do not understand the benefits of managed services. As a result, nearly half (49%) of those surveyed believed this lack of understanding is the leading barrier they face in trying to sell the benefits of managed services to SMBs. This was followed by overall cost (37%) and the desire of SMBs to maintain their own infrastructure (37%).
- BENEFITS OF MANAGED SERVICES: Understanding that many smaller companies see technology as a necessary expense, as opposed to a strategic investment, respondents cited reduced costs (43%) as the most compelling benefit of managed services for SMBs, followed by the ability to free up resources to focus on other aspects of the business (37%) and reduced IT headcount (33%).
- CLOUD POPULARITY = MORE SALES: Cloud computing solutions are smoothing the way for VARs to sell managed services to SMBs. In fact, nearly two-thirds (63%) of respondents agreed that the popularity of cloud has made it easier for them to sell managed services to SMBs as customers become more familiar with the concept of software as a service.
- LOOKING TOWARDS THE FUTURE: When asked to discuss which technologies would have the greatest impact among SMBs over the next two years, more than half (51%) of respondents said cloud computing would have the greatest impact, followed by tablets (21%) and smart phones (15%). Fifty-two percent (52%) of respondents also believed that tablets will take the place of laptops for most executives, while nearly a quarter (24%) believed that all applications and data storage will migrate to the cloud.
- KEY GENERATOR OF REVENUE FOR VARs: More than a quarter (27%) of respondents indicated that managed services will likely account for more than half of their 2011 revenues. Looking ahead to 2012, nearly two-thirds (64%) said they expect their revenue from managed services to increase, with a sizable number (16%) saying it will increase by 20% or more.
Wednesday, April 6th, 2011
HERNDON, VA – Virginia’s Center for Innovation Technology has made a seed stage investment in an undisclosed amount in Arlington-based Airside Mobile Inc. The company has developed a free mobile commerce platform that instantly allows travelers to ease and expedite their airport experiences through their mobile devices with access to a wide range of solutions to common – and often last-minute – airport hassles.
“Air travel is often a high stress situation where lots of things can go wrong at the airport: no parking, long lines, no time to eat, no taxis, cancelled flights – and the list goes on. Travelers, stressed and short on time, are left to find solutions to these obstacles. At the same time, businesses offering solutions have no way of knowing which travelers need assistance. Airside provides a unique channel for both groups to find each other at precisely the right moment,” says Hans Miller, CEO and Co-founder of Airside.
Airside technology targets the more than 750 million travelers that pass through US airports each year, spending over $7 billion on US airport services and retail, and even more on car rentals, hotels, and entertainment.
Airside’s server-based application analyzes traveler information, location, itinerary, destination, flight status, airport conditions, travel conditions, and consumption profiles to create opportunities for the variety of partners in the airport services arena to target and reach travelers with offers relevant and appropriate to their specific situatuin,
CIT’s seed-stage investment in Airside will be used to develop mobile check-in for five major airlines, one-touch mobile boarding pass retrieval, automatic flight statuses, searchable dining and retail guides, automated booking with executive car services, automated enrollment with express security services, an order/delivery function for food service, rules-driven push messaging, and mobile coupons. Eventually, funds will also be used to develop marketing initiatives designed to increase membership.
Airside can be accessed today via the Airside Express iPhone App, with plans to extend across other mobile devices such as Android and Blackberry.
Wednesday, July 7th, 2010
HERNDON, VA -The Virginia Center for Innovative Technology says its CIT GAP BioLife Fund closed on an investment in an undisclosed amount in Parabon NanoLabs Inc.
The Reston-based nano-pharmaceutical company uses a proprietary combination of innovative software and nanoscale fabrication technologies that speeds up and lowers the cost of drug discovery, especially for treatments for cancerous brain tumors like malignant glioma that took the life of late-Senator Edward Kennedy.
Parabon NanoLabs was a presenting company at the 2010 Southeast Venture Conference. For our profile of the company prior to its appearance at SE Venture see: Parabon NanoLabs successfully targets brain cancer cells.
Announcing the funding, CIT President & CEO Pete Jobse said, “Innovation and innovative entrepreneurs like the team at Parabon NanoLabs will be the keys to reviving our economy and creating sustainable job growth. To succeed, they need access to capital, and that is what our CIT GAP Funds provide.”
Parabon NanoLabs allows scientists to develop novel therapeutics using its proprietary Essemblix Drug Design Platform – a powerful combination of computer-aided design software for designing macromolecules and nanoscale fabrication technology for their production.
This platform gives scientists the ability to design and construct multi-functional macromolecules from simpler subcomponents, replacing the current slow and costly model of “drug discovery” with a new efficient, faster and more affordable “drug design” model that allows for faster treatments.
Dr. Steven Armentrout, Founder and President of Parabon NanoLabs, said, “The newly discovered ability to precisely manipulate matter at the nanoscale is ushering in an era of even greater economic impact: the Nanotechnology Revolution.”
Parabon NanoLabs capitalizes on the commercial opportunities made possible by its technology for creating a new class of designer macromolecules.
These engineered molecular structures — not producible with the traditional methods of pharmacology, chemistry or microelectronics — can be used across a wide spectrum of domains, such as nano-sensors for bioweapons defense; nano-arrays for DNA biometrics; and nano-additives for consumer products.
The CIT GAP BioLife Fund is part of the CIT GAP Funds, seed stage investment programs that leverage public and private investments to launch new high expectation companies.
This is the 38th investment. Since its launch, CIT GAP Funds has invested almost $3.8 million to help create 38 companies that, in turn, were able to attract an additional $51 million in private equity. (For a list of portfolio companies, please go to www.citgapfunds.org/
Contact Tech Journal South Editor and writer Allan Maurer: Allan at TechJournalSouth dot com.