"Back To School" Sales Blow

Halfway through the pay-anything-to-get-your-kids-ready-for-school season it’s turning out to be a dud.  Analysts are forecasting same-store sales down 3%-4%, versus a 1% increase last year.

Stephanie Rosenbloom, NYT: Fears about the job market have resulted in sluggish customer traffic over the last few weeks, spurring the gloomy sales projections. Parents who do shop are aggressively trading down, informing status-conscious teenagers that notebooks from the dollar store or shirts from Costco will have to do this year.

Stock analysts at Citigroup are predicting a decline in back-to-school sales for the first time since they began tracking the figures in 1995. They estimate August and September sales at stores open for at least a year — known as same-store sales — will fall 3 to 4 per cent, compared with an increase of nearly 1 per cent in the same period last year.

The National Retail Federation, an industry group, expects the average family with school-age children to spend nearly 8 per cent less this year than last. And ShopperTrak, a research company, predicted customer traffic would be down 10 per cent from a year ago.

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Photo: Gavin Corder

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