Retailers have reported steady sales gains for July, as larger discounts and sweltering hot weather forced shoppers into air conditioned shopping centers. However, with growing economic concerns, many analysts worry that the back-to-school shoppers will stick to the habits they demonstrated during the Great Recession – sticking to necessities only and waiting around for bigger discounts.
Despite the rash of bad news on our economy, many retailers showed July revenue that will far surpass their Wall Street estimate, including Target, Macy’s and Saks. The International Council of Shopping Centers’ first retailer revenue tally for stores open at least one full year – a primary indicator of their health – rose nearly 5 percent, slower than the 7 percent of June, but still right in line with preliminary forecasts.
The true test comes now, as retailers attempt to offset growing production, labor and fuel costs by raising their prices, a tactic never embraced by consumers.