August’s result is down from the 2.8% sales-weighted composite reported last month and down from the 3.1% composite reported in August of 2007.
August’s results were led by stronger-than-average results at Warehouse Clubs, which were pumped up by gasoline sales. Retailers in all other channels lagged, with the exception of Wal-Mart, dollar stores and a few apparel specialty retailers.
“Retail sales are being hurt by shoppers spending less on back-to-school and by the diminishing impact of tax rebates,” said Frank Badillo, senior economist at TNS Retail Forward. “The signs suggest that retail spending will resume a weakening trend through the end of the year.”
August same-store sales results were dampened by shoppers’ weak back-to-school spending plans, according to the TNS Retail Forward August ShopperScape survey:
- In August, one of every five households (20%) planned to spend less on back-to-school, which was significantly more belt-tightening than in the prior two years.
- About two of every five households (41%) planned to spend the same as last year on back-to-school, also a significant deterioration from last year (46%).
- The good news was that about one-third of households (34%) planned to spend more than last year, which was only slightly less than last year (36%).
ShopperScape survey results also suggest that a weakening trend may have resumed in August following a July pause in response to tax rebates and back-to-school spending:
- The percentage of shoppers planning to spend less during the next month jumped to 53% in August, resuming a steady upward trend evident from February through June.
- The percentage of shoppers planning to spend more (8%) or about the same (39%) as last year slipped to new lows for the year after momentarily rising in July.