It may still be the dog days of summer for most school-aged children, but the back-to-school season is here. Which retailers are best poised to win share?
Despite the decline in brick-and-mortar store retail, back-to-school, retail's second-biggest shopping season, is projected to see a 9.6% rise in consumer spending to $27.3 billion compared with last year, according to the National Retail Federation. Add in spending for college-age students and that figure is projected to rise to $75.8 billion, up from $68 billion in 2015.
Consumers will be spending on average $673.57 to buy school supplies, sneakers, electronics, on-trend apparel and other necessities for their K-12-aged children, up from $630.36 in 2015, the NRF said.
The retail association attributes the rise in spending to families who are less worried about the economy this year -- though they are still looking for bargains.
Already several retailers during second-quarter earnings have called out positive early reads on back-to-school sales.
"We are encouraged by the start of the back-to-school season," Macy's(M) - Get Report CFO Karen Hoguet said in an earnings call with analysts on Thursday. "We are seeing strength in all categories, but are most excited by the strong trend in denim."
An emerging denim trend could benefit the whole apparel sector, said Robert Samuels, senior consumer discretionary sector strategist at UBS Wealth Management Research. "We haven't seen any kind of denim trend in several years. That means that people will start to replace their wardrobe with some of the newer styles," adding that consumers tend to buy new tops with new bottoms, Samuels said.
"Denim could potentially be a strong driver for apparel not only for back-to-school, but into holiday as well," he added.
Other trends that are also likely to benefit select retailers this season include sales of Athleticwear, boots and sneakers, specifically basketball shoes.
"It's all about innovation" with sneakers, Samuels said. "If there's good innovation and newness at the right price point -- kids will want that."
So which retailers are best primed to take advantage of this year's back-to-school season? Here are six of the best.