Kennedy: retailers anticipate the ‘big’ back-to-school season

Years ago, when Girl # 2 was still a kid, I used to tease her around this time of year with sales flyers from retailers promoting Back to School products.

In his mind, summer had just started and it was downright cruel to bring up the specter of going back to school.

In the aftermath of COVID-19, however, I wonder if her young self might have a different reaction today, perhaps excited at the prospect of hallways once again filled with familiar sights and sounds after the disturbances of the two. last academic years.

Retailers always seem ready to capitalize.

“[W]We’re forecasting one of our greatest back-to-school and college seasons ever, ”Christina Hennington, director of growth at Target Corp., told analysts in a conference call in May to discuss the tax results. first quarter and revenue outlook for 2021..

Likewise, “Back to school, we think, is going to be important… so we’re looking at it,” Lauren Hobart, CEO of Dick’s Sporting Goods, said during that company’s quarterly call.

Both retailers talked about new products and marketing campaigns for back to school / college, which ranks # 2 behind the Thanksgiving-Christmas holiday for consumer spending.

Indeed, the tax and audit advisor Deloitte, in an annual survey published last week, fixes the back-to-school spending of parents “at its highest level in recent years”: $ 32.5 billion for kindergarten to Grade 12 (or about $ 600 per student) and $ 26.7 billion for college students (or about $ 1,460 per student).

The coronavirus pandemic has fueled increased spending on technology, according to Deloitte, “creating a new baseline for how and what parents buy.” As a result, many expect to buy less traditional school supplies and more smartphones, tablets and portable devices.

Lessons learned from the supply chain problems created by COVID will likely drive spending forward, Deloitte says, with more than half of K-12 families looking to complete their purchases by the end of July to avoid stockouts.

Consumers also expect to maintain certain purchasing habits born of the pandemic, including BOPIS (online purchase, in-store pickup) and curbside service, according to Deloitte.

Deloitte isn’t alone in its forecast: Trade publication Chain Store Age reported last week that research firm Customer Growth Partners cited government stimulus measures, pent-up demand and consumer resilience for record sales start of the school year that she anticipates between July and September. .

And cable business network CNBC reported in June that Mastercard expects back-to-school sales to beat pre-pandemic figures, with spending on clothing in particular surging big.

This should elicit a big “Huzzah! From department stores such as Macy’s, which told analysts on its first-quarter fiscal call that it was “going after a very good start to school.”

CFO Adrian Mitchell said the retailer is seeing “the first signs … more dressier clothing categories are really starting to come back” for both back to school and back to school – the latter is undoubtedly a buoy for everything. child whose parents are happy. returning to class may be tempered by their own return to the office.

Marlene kennedy is a freelance columnist. The opinions expressed in his column are his own and not necessarily those of the newspaper. Reach her at [email protected]

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