Chicago ShopperTrak said on Thursday that both retail sales and traffic for the third quarter is expected be relatively positive, compared with the same three-month period last year.
According to the company’s Retail Traffic Index (SRTI), total U.S. foot traffic is expected to decline 1% for the quarter, while the company’s National Retail Sales Estimate (NRSE) is forecasting a 2.6% retail sales rise.
ShopperTrak reported back-to-school shopping -- a retail period second only to the Nov./Dec. holiday season -- will once be the star of the show in the third quarter, driving retail spending throughout August.
While the company’s data shows retail sales during “back-to-school” 2009 slipped 4.9%, it does not expect a repeat of this dismal performance as value-driven consumers and pent up demand are pointing to relative recovery for retailers in 2010. Pointing to this fact, ShopperTrak’s data shows year-over-year retail sales have increased in 21-of-26 possible weeks so far this year.
Although the retail traffic intelligence provider expects a slight uptick in third-quarter sales, Bill Martin, co-founder of ShopperTrak, warned that several economic conditions could drive both retail sales and traffic downward over the next three months.
“As with several sectors, continued slow growth in the job market could have an adverse effect on retailers over the next three months,” Martin said. “This added to the possibility of even higher gasoline prices could mean fewer shopping trips to the malls, which could also negatively impact retail performance.”
Martin continued, “That being said, consumers have proven willing to spend this year and pent up demand should materialize during back-to-school season as old wardrobes and other necessary items must be replaced.”