Page 14 AUGUST 2018 | RETAILERS FORUM MAGAZINE
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If It Affects Retailing We Report On It!
Back-To-School Shopping Gets Slower Start
BY this time of the season the typical back-to-school parent is almost finished with their shopping.
However, this year it appears that while more parents started earlier this year than last, there is still plenty of
shopping to do as they prepare their children for the new school season.
AS of our press time, a recent survey indicated that the average family with children in grades K-12 had
completed only 45% of their shopping thus far. That is down from last year's numbers.
PARENTS this year have been taking longer to finish buying the supplies and clothing that their kids will
need for school.
MANY surveyed still need to buy basic supplies like pencils and paper, up from 77 percent last year,
followed by 75 percent who needed to buy apparel and shoes for their kids.
THE common thread of all the slower shoppers is that they are leveraging in-store promotions, watching
for newspaper inserts and special discount deals to encourage them to finish up their shopping. Over 43% of
those surveyed were influenced by coupons and specials.
SIMILAR to years past, many big ticket items are being required on supply lists of needed items. This
includes computers and laptops so many shoppers are waiting for the best pricing and deals on those items.
WHEN it comes to back-to-college purchasers 41% of shoppers said they will be buying online, with the
balance shopping at department and discount stores. Almost half of the buyers said they were waiting for
discounts and coupons as well as in-store promotions to save the money money.
What Trade War?
WE are or are not in a trade war depending on who you speak to or what news network you watch. If we
do end up in a trade war the loser will probably be the American family who will be caught in the middle. As
trade tensions between the US and rest of the world escalate, expect to take a hit at the cash register.
IN latest news the tariffs will continue on flat screens, solar panels, household appliances. What is going
to happen is that the retaliation will effect consumers around the world, including here in the United States.
WHILE in the long run straightening out the unfair trade practices of the past will hopefully make sense and
pay off, the short term will bring some pain for both businesses and that pain will trickle down to consumers.
COMPANIES in the US who are dependent on imported aluminum and steel, for cars, appliamces, canned
food or beverages, will have to absorb the higher costs. What this typically comes down to is that companies
will lay off workers or have price hikes on the effected products.
ON the flip side, if other countries decide to purchase fewer products from the US, like orange juice for
example, because of the higher costs as a result of the tariffs, that may mean mor einventory and slower
sales for farmers and producers here, which will cost jobs in the long run as well as create a possibility of
higher pricing to compensate for that.
AT a time when wage growth has been somewhat limited, every dollar counts and price inflation means
fewer dollars consumers will have to spend somewhere else. This price inflation takes a toll on consumer
confidence at a time when Americans have been increasingly optimistic about their financial prospects as
opposed to past years.
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