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ShopperTrak: Expect fewer back-to-school shoppers, bigger tickets


Chicago -- A report released Thursday by ShopperTrak found that retailers should expect fewer shoppers this back-to-school season, but average tickets are anticipated to be larger.

According to ShopperTrak, national retail sales, when compared with the same period last year, will rise 3.8% in August, while foot traffic will decrease 2.9%.

ShopperTrak measures foot-traffic in more than 25,000 stores in the United States and analyzes the data in a proprietary econometric model to create its National Retail Sales Estimate of general merchandise, apparel and accessories, furniture and other sales (GAFO).

U.S. retail spending has been positive since February 2010, and ShopperTrak’s back-to-school sales increase prediction follows 17 consecutive months of year-over-year growth, according to previous ShopperTrak NRSE reports. Because gas prices are 30% higher this summer than last, however, ShopperTrak expects foot-traffic to drop by 2.9%. In 2010, the back-to-school season saw a 0.5% decline in foot-traffic compared with 2009. The forecasted numbers may drop further, said ShopperTrak, if Congress fails to act on the U.S. debt ceiling and nervous Americans decide to cut their spending.

“With back-to-school shoppers planning fewer trips to the store -- and continued economic certainty -- retailers must maximize the limited number of opportunities to convert browsers to buyers,” said ShopperTrak co-founder, Bill Martin. “Tracking daily foot traffic and understanding store traffic patterns will equip retailers with meaningful business intelligence to ensure the best possible in-store experience for the customer and the maximum shopper conversion rate for the store.”

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