Independent Research Firms’ on Back- to- School Retail Slump


Despite the back-to school shopping season, retail stores  sales in  July and August were low. Most of the major retail stores that specialize in teenage clothing  posted  significant declines.  Sales were down 29 percent at Abercrombie ,  20 percent at American Apparel,   12.1 percent at Zumiez, 11.2 percent at Wet Seal ,  8.1 percent at Hot Topic,   and at American Eagle Outfitter 7 percent. Lower priced retail stores including Ross Stores, Kohl’s and TJ Maxx had the best performances.

In August,  in a survey by  NPD Group, a market research firm specializing in retail, 44 percent of respondents indicated that  they plan to spend less this year on back-to-school shopping,  23 percent indicated that they spend more and 32 percent planned to spend the same. America’s Research Group’s Britt Beemer predicted  in early August that back-to –school sales would drop by 8.5 to 12 percent.  “Back-to-school spending will be a minor blip on the radar screen for retailers this year,”  he stated.

Independent research firm RetailMetrics, however is optimistic. President Ken Perkins belives that “retail same store sales clearly bottomed in July.” Additionally, the International Council of Shopping Centers predicts a 2 percent same-store sales decline for September and indicates that August  “very well may mark a turning point in the retail sales cycle.” As schools around the U.S. reopen for the 2009-2010 school year, final data will soon be in to confirm.


The NPD Group is a global provider of consumer and retail market research information for a wide range of industries. The firm provides consumer behavior and point-of-sale (POS) information and industry expertise internationally across the following industry sectors: automotive, beauty, commercial technology, consumer technology, entertainment, fashion, food & beverage, foodservice, home, office supplies, software, sports, toys, and wireless. Clients include manufacturers, retailers, and service companies, as well as foodservice operators, technology distributors, and financial services providers. NPD offers primarily US coverage and some European coverage (Spain, Italy, France and Germany).

America’s Research Group is a consumer behavior survey research company focused mainly on the retail sector. Founded in 1979 by C. Britt Beemer, America’s Research Group has provided individually tailored research and strategies to a variety of companies located throughout the country. Clients are primarily involved in service businesses such as retailing and manufacturing. These clients are found in the fields of home furnishings, appliance, and electronics retailing, banking and finance, healthcare providers, department stores and mass merchants.

RetailMetrics, LLC provides institutional investors with monthly consensus same store sales estimates, as well as a range of corollary data points and analysis, for roughly 80 major U.S. retailers. The firm collects this information through extensive surveys of sell-side analysts and offers data-rich reports several times a month. RetailMetrics issues reports 7-8 times a month in PDF and/or Excel format, with updates on a daily basis during the week of same store sales reports.


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