Dear reader,

The latest revision of the forecasts handled by the International Monetary Fund for Spain throws up few surprises in terms of the direction and meaning of the crisis. According to the IMF, Spain’s gross domestic product will contract this year by 1.5%. This forecast is worse than the balance expected for 2012, a year that the Bank of Spain announced this morning closed with a decline of 1.3%.

Sales of the consumer goods sector fell by 5% in Spain last December, which confirms the “weakness” and “little joy” of demand, according to the Retail Indicator of Comertia, an association that brings together 60 retail companies, totaling around 4,800 points of sale throughout the Spanish territory.

The organization points out that the rise in VAT last September has caused “four consecutive months of falling consumption” and warns that the economic crisis “is fully entering the middle class consumer”, increasingly concerned about maintaining the rationality in spending, which is reflected in a “much lower” average ticket.

With the aim of injecting a bit of optimism in the context of economic contraction in which we find ourselves, in the Wake up! section of this issue of our newsletter for the retail sector, Wake up! We comment on the latest innovations presented at the annual convention of the United States National Retail Federation (NRF) retailers association, Retail”s Big Show 2013, which was held in New York from January 13 to 16. In this framework, the main players in the world of solutions for retail showed their latest products and, at the same time, discussed current issues and future trends in the sector. The shower

In the La Ducha section, we have carried out an analysis of the keys to the success of Desigual, one of the Spanish fashion chains with the greatest international projection. Having a fascinating idea, transforming society with the product and being responsible with what is done are the bases for the success of this Catalan company, which reached a turnover of 560 million euros in 2011 and has a team of more than 3,000 persons.

In the Breakfast section we present the book “Why some stores sell and others don’t: Keys to success in retail” by Luis Lara, Jorge Mas and Álvaro Salafranca, CEO of Starbucks Spain & Portugal. In this book, its authors, experienced retail professionals who have collaborated in some of the best companies, explain the most effective method to manage stores successfully, providing unpublished information, illustrative examples and personal experiences, which allow us to understand how they have reached the top organizations such as Mercadona, Marks & Spencer, Starbucks, Apple, IKEA, ALDI, El Corte Inglés, FNAC or Nespresso, among others.

In the Agenda section, we invite you to attend, among others, Loyalty World Mexico 2013, which will take place in Mexico City on April 23-24. In this new edition, two worlds have been coupled to provide attendees with the best loyalty strategies and “big data” and achieve a balance that offers companies the best tools to attract and retain their customers.

Finally, in our Farewell section, we invite you to read the latest report on consumer behavior published by Millward Brown. The report shows a depressive view of the consumer about the economic situation in Spain and a deterioration of family economies, which heralds a significant contraction in consumption. But the great novelty of this report is that even those who have not suffered dramatic changes in their economic situation have their consumption gripped by future uncertainties.

I hope that this new issue of our newsletter that we are now presenting to you will serve as an inspiration for your business strategy for the year that has just begun.