Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Anemic Forecasts For Back-To-School Sales Prompt Retailers To Ramp Up Campaigns

As reported on Style Sight: July 7th 2008

The critical back-to-school season is now officially underway and with the anemic expectations that retailers will post sales growth that is flat to slightly negative between July 4 and Labor Day, reported The Wall Street Journal. The downturn is a bitter one in comparison to last year’s 21% increase in sales to $65.7bn, and reflects just how severely the slowdown in the U.S. economy, inflation, rising costs of living and unemployment are hitting consumer wallets. (Photo Credit: WSJ)

Experts are predicting that essentials, such as textbooks and laptops, will slow down sales of apparel, but even within the electronics sector, there is a no clear must-have gadget. The harsh reality of what’s ahead has retailers such as Kohl’s Corp., J.C. Penney Co. and Macy’s Inc. all ramping up their B-T-S campaigns earlier and offering more exclusive offerings to lure customers.
Kohl’s has launched a back-to-school exclusive girls apparel and accessories line by singer Avril Lavigne as one of it star attractions as it kicks its biggest back-to-school campaign ever next week, a week earlier than usual.
J.C. Penney is launching five exclusive brands this month, its largest grouping ever launched simultaneously. “It’s a huge time of the year for us, and we’re spending against it,” Mike Boylson, Penney’s chief marketing officer told the newspaper. The retailer has created an online game called “DorkDodge,” to promote the new lines. It will also air a 60-second spot in theaters recreating scenes from the 1985 teen film “The Breakfast Club.”
The retailer also announced Monday the launch of its new Dorm Life private home brand, a modern lifestyle brand that targets college students. Prices range from $3.99 for a bath towel to $39.99 for a comforter.
Macy’s, not to be outdone, begins filming a documentary next month following five young adults as they road trip across the U.S., visiting 12 cities to meet musicians and music producers while wearing clothing by Macy’s American Rag label. The 10-episode show, titled “Ragged Road,” will begin airing on YouTube.com in September. It will feature live video blogs.

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