Back-to-School Bodes Well for Brick-and-Mortar

In a recent survey, half the respondents said they plan to buy or have already bought most of their apparel and shoes in a store.

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In a recent survey by global consulting firm BRG, more than 1,000 shoppers were asked for feedback on where they planned to shop for back-to-school apparel, footwear and school supplies. Over half the respondents (58 percent) said they plan to buy or have already bought most of their apparel and shoes in a store, and 57 percent also showed a preference for brick-and-mortar when it came to school supplies.

Keith Jelinek, managing director and co-founder of BRG’s Retail Performance Improvement practice, suggests that more families are using back-to-school shopping as an opportunity to bond before schedules get busy again. “Back-to-school shopping is a family affair, with parents frequently receiving input from their children on purchases,” he adds. “Consumers enjoy the in-store experience where they can touch and feel the merchandise, so retailers need to be ready to capitalize on the opportunity to impress this important shopper segment.”

Rick Maicki, a managing director at BRG, says retailers shouldn’t take this opportunity lightly. “In-store operations need to be as sharp as ever—displays need to be compelling, pricing and promotions must be competitive—as this is one of the critical shopping occasions before the holidays,” he says, adding promotions play an important role with more than 60 percent of shoppers saying they will only shop during a sale.

And there’s more good news for retailers: 88 percent of respondents said their financial situations are the same or better than last year and about 40 percent expect to spend more for back to school than last year. According to Maicki, “If retailers can win at back-to-school, they have a good chance at gaining the attention of their shoppers when the holidays roll around.”

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