Fourth-quarter financials in 2017 demonstrate once again that retailers walk a tightrope when it comes to driving sales and maintaining gross margins. In spite of healthy sales increases in the fourth quarter, many retail executives felt the impact of a dynamic business environment that challenges retail companies on numerous fronts: new technology, evolving consumer preferences, digitalization, new competitors, etc. Attracting new customers and keeping loyal shoppers “in the fold” is never a fait accompli. Executives must continue to manage both short- and long-term strategies across all their operations to maintain financial flexibility and remain relevant with consumers.

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