Manulife Asset Management Launches New "Omnichannel" Retailing Research Report

TORONTO, March 31, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Manulife Asset Management has published the first research report in its new Investment Insight thought leadership series, entitled "Omnichannel:  A reason for investors to re-think retail?" Authored by Edward Ritchie, Senior Investment Analyst, European & EAFE Equities; Sarah Henry, Senior Research Officer, U.S. Equities; and Kenglin Tan, Senior Portfolio Manager, Asia Equities, the report outlines how changes in the way consumers shop are driving new investment opportunities in markets around the world. It examines the emergence of omnichannel retailing, a strategy that allows customers to buy retail goods online, by visiting a store, or by various combinations of physical and virtual shopping.

"The rise of omnichannel retailing is challenging the way investors think about the consumer sector," the authors write. They observe that omnichannel blurs the line between bricks and mortar retailing and online retailing (or "e-tailing"), as retailers attempt to drive sales and boost margins by combining the two approaches.

"North American and UK retailers are developing new forms of omnichannel, while Japan and China are also pioneering distinct approaches such as virtual shopping malls," the report states.

Analyzing what omnichannel means for investors, the report notes:

  • Omnichannel is a retail trend that thus far has been largely neglected by investors, because it is more nuanced and less simplistic than the established models of e-tailing and traditional bricks and mortar retailing.
  • However, it has the potential to rejuvenate a sector usually considered mature, driving innovation by both bricks and mortar and online retailers.
  • In particular, it provides a reason for investors who previously have overlooked bricks and mortar retailers in favor of pure e-tailers to take another look.
  • Specifically, it could drive investment opportunities in those retailers with strong brands and financial firepower, grocery retailers in the UK, Hong Kong and Korea, as well as department and convenience stores in multiple markets. Meanwhile, outside the retail sector, some automation manufacturers and database software companies look set to benefit from this trend.

About the Manulife Asset Management Investment Insight series

Manulife Asset Management has a team of 325 investment professionals around the world who identify and research long-term themes that help shape investment decisions. The Investment Insight series taps into this research and knowledge, providing investors with easy-to-digest insight about the latest thinking on important trends and explaining why they matter. Read more at ManulifeAM.com.

About Manulife Asset Management

Manulife Asset Management is the global asset management arm of Manulife Financial, providing comprehensive asset management solutions for institutional investors and investment funds in key markets around the world. This investment expertise extends across a broad range of public and private asset classes, as well as asset allocation solutions. As at December 31, 2013, assets under management for Manulife Asset Management were C$280 billion (US $263 billion).

Manulife Asset Management's public markets units have investment expertise across a broad range of asset classes including public equity and fixed income, and asset allocation strategies.  Offices with full investment capabilities are located in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, and the Philippines. In addition, Manulife Asset Management has a joint venture asset management business in China, Manulife TEDA. The public markets units of Manulife Asset Management also provide investment management services to affiliates' retail clients through product offerings of Manulife and John Hancock. John Hancock Asset Management and Declaration Management and Research are units of Manulife Asset Management.

Additional information about Manulife Asset Management may be found at ManulifeAM.com.

About Manulife Financial

Manulife Financial is a leading Canada-based financial services group with principal operations in Asia, Canada and the United States. Clients look to Manulife for strong, reliable, trustworthy and forward-thinking solutions for their most significant financial decisions. Our international network of employees, agents and distribution partners offers financial protection and wealth management products and services to millions of clients. We also provide asset management services to institutional customers. Funds under management by Manulife Financial and its subsidiaries were approximately C$599 billion (US$563 billion) as at December 31, 2013. The Company operates as Manulife Financial in Canada and Asia and primarily as John Hancock in the United States.

Manulife Financial Corporation trades as 'MFC' on the TSX, NYSE and PSE, and under '945' on the SEHK. Manulife Financial can be found on the Internet at Manulife.com.

SOURCE Manulife Asset Management



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