US retailers posted August sales that exceeded forecasts, according to data compiled by retail analysts at Retail Metrics Inc. and the International Council of Shopping Centers. Same-store sales for chain stores on a whole rose by 6%, driven by promotions for back-to-school shopping as well as cooler weather conditions.
Sales were also aided by state sales tax holidays.
The research collected tracked same-store sales for more than 20 retail chains, excluding drug stores and Wal-Mart. Same-store sales are sales in stores that have been open at least a year, and do not take into account sales made online.
Wet Seal and Zumiez were the only retailers that did not meet sales expectations.
Analyst Chris Donnelly told Bloomberg: “Despite a lot of challenging macroeconomic fundamentals, the American consumer finds these opportunities where they just pick themselves up and they go out and shop, and that’s what we saw this month.”
A strong third quarter is expected, boosted by August sales. Women’s wear and home goods are forecast to rise 8%.
Gap, Macy’s, Nordstrom, Bon-Ton and Target all saw an increase in sales, with Nordstrom leading the way and benefiting from its Anniversary Sale to see a major increase of 21%. Estimates had been around 11%.
Gap saw sales rise 9%, with sales highest in its Old Navy chain, which reported a 12% increase. Estimates for Gap had been around 5.4%. Macy’s, which includes Bloomingdale’s, saw sales rise over 5%, beating estimates of 3.3%.
At the lower end of the increases, Target saw sales rise 4.2% and Bon-Ton had a 2.2% increase.
Back-to-school shopping for K-12 and college students is expected to total close to $84 billion this year, according to the National Retail Federation. The back-to-school shopping season runs August and September, and is the second-highest selling season.
The increase in back-to-school sales gives retailers confidence going into the holiday season, analysts say. However, rising gas prices, unemployment and weather conditions could have an impact on holiday shopping.
Some 70% of US economic activity is from consumer spending, reports Reuters.
Key Statistics - US Apparel Retail Industry (source: MarketLine)
- In 2011, the apparel retail industry in the US had revenue totaling over $329 billion. Between 2007- 2011, this represents a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of close to 2.7%.
- In 2011, the US apparel retail industry's most lucrative segment was women’s wear, which had revenue of over $170 billion, or nearly 52% of the total industry value.
- For the five-year period 2011–2016, the industry’s performance is predicted to accelerate to a CAGR of 3.1%. By the end of 2016, the industry is forecast to be valued at $384 billion.