July Sales Better; Back-to-School Looks Worse - TheStreet

July Sales Better; Back-to-School Looks Worse

Retail sales regain some confidence, while back-to-school surveys send fears through investors.
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Retail sales may have seen a lift last week, but the back-to-school season threatens to end the summer with a thud.

For the week ended July 18 sales rose .5%, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers and Goldman Sachs. "Although this week's sales uptick was modest, its breadth was widespread, with a strong spurt of customer traffic across most segments of the industry," Michael P Niemire, ICSC chief economist said in a statement.

But this good news was dampened by yet another back-to-school survey noting that consumers are cutting back on purchases.

Only 33% of parents are expected to spend more than $400 this year, compared with 47% last year, according to a survey conducted America's Research Group and UBS.

This follows a

report released by Deloitte

yesterday, which revealed that 64% of shoppers plan to spend less on back-to-school items.

The National Retail Federation said last week that the average family with students in grades kindergarten through 12 is expected to spend $548.72 on school merchandise, down 7.7% from last year. NRF predicts total back-to-school spending will reach $17.42 billion.

Retail shares were awash in red Tuesday morning, as the S&P Retail Index fell 1.4% to 337.63.

Teen specialty retailers felt some pangs, with

Aeropostale

(ARO)

down 2% to $37.54,

Abercrombie & Fitch

(ANF) - Get Report

sliding 1% to $25.82

American Eagle Outfitters

(AEO) - Get Report

sinking 3% to $14.18 and

Buckle

(BKE) - Get Report

descending 4% to $31.03.

Department stores also gave up yesterday's gains.

Macy's

(M) - Get Report

declined 2% to $12.49,

Kohl's

(KSS) - Get Report

dropped 2% to $47.51 and

JC Penney

(JCP) - Get Report

slipped 2.5% to $29.22

Office supply retailers, which are expected to lag in the all important back-to-school season, were also awash in red.

Staples

(SPLS)

was down 1% to $20.80,

OfficeMax

(OMX)

fell 2% to $6.91 and

Office Depot

(ODP) - Get Report

sank 3% to $4.55.

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