Back-to-School Fails to Lift Stores Out of Summer Slump | RetailNext

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Back-to-School Fails to Lift Stores Out of Summer Slump

Ray Hartjen
Ray Hartjen
Director, Content Marketing & Public Relations

Physical stores continued their summer slump in August, posting year-over-year sales decreases of 7.3 percent on a 9.9 percent decline in store traffic.

RetaliNext released its monthly Retail Performance Pulse on September 4, detailing brickSlide1-and-mortar stores’ results for the month of August (August 2-29 on retail’s sometimes confusing 4-5-4
calendar). and not surprisingly, year-long downward trends in year-over-year sales and traffic continued.

Sales fell 7.3 percent on a 9.9 percent decline in store traffic.  At the same time, year-long upward trends in Conversion, Average Transaction Value (ATV) and Sales per Shopper (SpS) all continued, rising 0.2 percent, 1.6 percent and 2.9 percent respectively.

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“As a season, Back-to-School did not provide the lift like it had in past years,” Shelley E. Kohan, vice president of retail consulting at RetailNext, told retail media today. “Much like Thanksgiving, today’s shoppers are reinventing the Back-to-School season, expanding the season both forward and backwards as they seek greater value. Other contributing factors to August’s performance were a late Labor Day weekend and a dip in disposable income for apparel and other segments due to the tremendous month experienced by automobile sales.” 

The first two weeks of August were the best performing weeks, driven in part by psychological appeal to customers of sales tax-free holidays and corresponding rises in store traffic and conversion. The last week of the month was the worse performing week. 

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“While August was a tough month for many stores,” added Kohan, “indicators suggest lots of opportunities for Holiday as employment, income and interest rates remain positive. It will be important for retail to maximize this Holiday season, as Holiday 2016 will be challenging, especially with distractions around the Presidential election.”

Be certain to download the complete Retail Performance Pulse for a comprehensive look at physical store performance in August.

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