August 26, 2014
Ronald Friedman, Co-Leader, Retail/Consumer Products Industry Group, Quoted in Fox Business Article, "Can Back-to-School Sales Predict the Holiday Shopping Season?"
By Kathryn Vasel
The verdict is still out on back-to-school sales, causing retailers’ to hold their collective breaths.
The holiday shopping season is the most vital quarter for most retailers, sending them into the black for the year. "Some retailers are very concerned about making a profit this year," says Ron Friedman, at retail expert at Marcum. "We saw a big tick up in retail sales when we were coming off the cold winter earlier this year, but then it's been flat. It's almost as if the back-to-school season never happened."
Despite last year's epic cold winter, holiday sales rose 2.7% in 2013, according to retail industry tracker ShopperTrak. This year, there are 26 days between Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) and Christmas, a day more than 2013's season, but five less than in 2012. Consumer spending makes up nearly two-thirds of the economy.
The back-to-school season is also getting shorter, says Friedman. "More schools are starting earlier in the summer. August is a popular vacation month. If families are just returning from the beach, that doesn't give them a lot of time to get their school supplies."