retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Count this as yet another example of dueling studies.

It was just a couple of days ago that MNB took note of a report saying that there is a general expectation, based on consumer interviews, that “the back-to-school shopping marathon, the second-largest shopping season in the U.S. after the end-of-year holidays, could be pushed deep into September,” as customers wait for the deeper discounts that they feel inevitably will come. The sense seemed to be that the recession has trained shoppers to wait on making planned purchases, since they believe that retailers will engage in price wars, aggressive promotions, and various other machinations as they sacrifice margin for sales and market share.

Except...

The National Retail Federation (NRF) is out with a new study saying that “consumers got a jump start on their back-to-school and college shopping this summer as extreme temperatures drove them into stores and out of the pool ... The average family has completed 43.2 percent of their school shopping, compared to 41.6 percent at this time last year. Similarly, families of college students have completed 43.1 percent of their shopping, versus 41.0 percent the previous year.”

Now, more than 26 percent of US families have not even started their back-to-school shopping yet, NRF says...and these families apparently can be deemed “budget wise families.” (Seventeen percent of families said that all their shopping was influenced by coupons, up from 14.7 percent a year ago.)

One other interesting note - 16 percent of families said they would finish their back-to-school shopping online, up from 12.2 percent a year ago.
KC's View: