This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

Retail Investors Bracing for Back-to-School Blues

Stocks in this article: WMT AAPL BBY

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Remember how back-to-school time used to be such a bummer, rife with disappointment and a sense of lost opportunity? Well, the sorrow may not just be for kids, anymore.

Indeed, the crucial back-to-school season -- typically second in importance for the retail sector only to Christmas -- often provides a vital lift for the second half of the year. But the signs this year point to a season that might garner a failing grade.

We begin with consumer confidence -- or the lack thereof -- which in July hit its lowest level since April. Likewise, several shopper surveys indicate that not only will consumers spend less overall than last year, but apparel in particular, will experience substantial decreases.

Retailers prepare for failing marks this back-to-school season.

Families with students in grades kindergarten through 12 are expected to dole out $548.72 on school merchandise, down 7.7% from last year, according to the National Retail Federation.

And these numbers look even worse when it comes to apparel, as NRF predicts a 12.7% slump In the category, the biggest decrease in five years.

Even when consumers are bombarded with bargains -- once a sure-fire way to get them to spend -- they just aren't budging. "According to our research, 70% are spending between 10% and 30% less, even when presented with good deals," UBS analyst Roxanne Meyer said.

As a result, specialty retailers are poised to get hit the hardest. Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) and Pacific Sunwear of California (PSUN), both of which have been reporting double-digit declines in monthly same-store sales, are not expected to recover in the near-term.

"Abercrombie & Fitch has done a good job recently of injecting fashion into its stores," Needham & Co. analyst Christine Chen said. "But it will take about another quarter or so to see any sort of improvement,"

1 of 3

Select the service that is right for you!

Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!


DOW 17,891.60 +86.80 0.49%
S&P 500 2,071.43 +0.78 0.04%
NASDAQ 4,769.5460 +4.1660 0.09%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs