Back-to-school retail sales throughout August posted a 3.7 percent increase for the same period versus last year, according to ShopperTrak's National Retail Sales Estimate.
The report posted strong month-over-month performance with sales up 6.9 percent and traffic up 5.9 percent over July. Meanwhile, U.S. foot traffic was flat for the same period compared to last year. ShopperTrak attributed the boost in sales to pent-up demand and favorable weather, however the data shows shoppers may have been focused on summer apparel spending versus fall clothing, which could benefit retailers in the coming months as an extended BTS shopping season.
"Retailers should be pleased with the steady performance in August for back to school, but we are comparing with a period last year that was still mired in the recession, so any strength at this point is relative," says Bill Martin, ShopperTrak's founder.
Last year's back-to-school season had reported a 5.0 percent decline compared to 2008 in GAFO sales (general merchandise, apparel, furniture, sporting goods, electronics, hobby, books and other related store sales).
"The relative positivity we've seen throughout all of 2010 should be encouraging for retailers as pent-up demand and seemingly higher consumer confidence should bode well for the upcoming holiday shopping season," says Martin.