Retailers Seeing Slow Start to Back-to-School Shopping
Jim LiebeltJim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University. Jim has over 25 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, and has been on the HomeWord staff since 1998. He has served over the years as a pastor, author, youth ministry trainer, adjunct college instructor and speaker. Jim’s culture blog and parenting articles appear on HomeWord.com. Jim is a contributing author of culture and parenting articles to Crosswalk.com. Jim and his wife Jenny live in Olympia, WA.
- 2010 Aug 09
The crucial back-to-school season got off to a slow start, as retailers hoping for brisk sales of apparel, backpacks and school supplies instead saw tepid business and continued consumer frugality last month.
Major chain stores reported that sales rose a modest 2.9 percent in July compared with a year earlier, according to Thomson Reuters' tally of 28 retailers. That was lower than the 3.1 percent increase analysts had predicted and marked the fourth straight month that results either missed or came in at the low end of expectations, said Michael Niemira, chief economist at the International Council of Shopping Centers.
In a poor sign for the back-to-school season, teen retailers were the biggest drag on the retail industry last month, with Hot Topic Inc. posting a 9 percent sales decline, Wet Seal Inc. reporting a 4.3 percent drop and American Eagle Outfitters Inc. seeing flat sales.
Even Aeropostale Inc., a relative bright spot in the weak teen sector in recent months thanks to lower prices than many of its competitors, struggled in July: The chain posted a 1 percent increase, worse than the 7.1 percent rise that analysts had expected.
All told, 61 percent of retailers missed expectations, according to Thomson Reuters.