Back-to-School Retail Sales to Increase

back to school spending upRetailers can expect parents to shop and spend more during the upcoming back-to-school season than they did last year, according to ShopperTrak. National retail sales, when compared to the same period last year, are expected to rise 4.3 percent in August, and retail foot traffic will increase 0.6 percent.

“Back-to-school shopping is the first major shopping season of the calendar year, and has the potential to set the tone for the holidays,” notes Bill Martin, ShopperTrak founder. “The economy is, in many ways, stronger than it was last August. We expect that the 2013 season will continue the growth trend of both retail sales and foot traffic.”

In 2012, back-to-school sales increased 5.9 percent compared to the previous year, and, in 2011, sales were up 4.5 percent over 2010. Likewise, retail foot traffic increased 11 percent from 2011 to 2012.

Positive consumer sentiment

Though consumer sentiment does not impact retail sales immediately, the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index recently reached its highest level since the beginning of the recession. The last time consumer sentiment was as high as it was in May 2013 was in September 2007.

In recent years, back-to-school shoppers had focused on stores with the best values. But with this positive consumer sentiment, shoppers may be more willing to shop around at more stores, not just the value locations, thus adding to the increased foot traffic and sales.

“On the whole, more people feel better about their financial situation than they did last year in August,” Martin continues. “Parents are ready to spend on their children’s school necessities. The consumers will be browsing. In order to seize this opportunity, smart retailers must prepare their marketing and operations to increase their foot traffic, sales and ultimately, their shopper conversion rates.”

ShopperTrak measures foot traffic in more than 60,000 global locations and analyzes the data in a proprietary, econometric model to create its ShopperTrak National Retail Sales Estimate™ (NRSE).