Back-to-school sales propel retailers

A surge of back-to-school sales helped most U.S. retailers ring their cash registers in August, according to the latest monthly totals.

Average back-to-school spending for a person with school-age children is projected to jump to $688 this year, according to a National Retail Federation survey. That is up from $603 in last year’s survey.
The 17 retailers that report monthly same-store sales are expected to show 4.1 percent overall growth, according to Thomson Reuters.
Limited Brands Inc. led the way with a same-store sales increase of 8.0 percent in August, and Costco Wholesale Corp. reported a 6-percent rise.
Menomonee Falls-based Kohl’s Corp.’s comparable store sales increased 3.4 percent.
Kevin Mansell, Kohl’s chairman, president and chief executive officer, said, “Our August sales reflect improvement in our merchandise content, inventory levels and marketing strategies. All regions and lines of business reported higher sales for the month. Best performing businesses were footwear, men’s and children’s.”
The Bon-Ton Stores Inc., which has dual headquarters in Milwaukee and York, Pa., reported a comparable store sales increase of 2.2 percent.
Brendan Hoffman, president and CEO of Bon-Ton Stores, said, “We were pleased with our August sales increase and attribute the sequential improvement to our continued efforts to refine our merchandise assortment and to deliver clear, compelling marketing messages. Favorable customer response to new transitional merchandise yielded sales growth in ladies and special size sportswear, both moderate and better; shoes; children’s and home. Fine jewelry also had strong sales gains. In addition, our eCommerce business continued to post double-digit sales gains. Our well-managed inventory enabled us to effectively respond to sales trends in season and we believe we can build upon this momentum as we continue to implement our merchandising and marketing strategies.”

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