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Back-To-School Sales Prospects Looking Strong

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In a welcome piece of good news after months and months of uncertainty – and in a trend that can’t help but boost the spirits of team dealers and sporting goods retailers across America – Back-To-School retail sales are expected to grow 5.5 percent during the all-important July 15 through September 6 period compared to 2020. Of course, 2020 was a BTS year like no other, with most kids not even returning to their classrooms, but nonetheless it is good to see forecasts trending in the right direction.

A more accurate projection is that compared to 2019, the last “normal” BTS, sales are expected to grow 6.7 percent, according to Mastercard SpendingPulse.

Some other projections from the credit card company for the period from July 15 to September 6:

  • E-commerce sales are expected to decline 6.6 percent against the same year-ago period, but climb 53.2 percent against the same period in 2019.
  • Since children will actually be going back to classrooms in most of the country and therefore need something to wear, apparel sales are expected to increase 78.2 percent against the same year-ago period and 11.3 percent against the same period in 2019.

“This year, the broader reopening brings an exciting wave of optimism as children prepare for another school year and the grown-ups in their lives approach a similar ‘return to office’ scenario,” explains Steve Sadove, senior advisor at Mastercard. “This back-to-school season will be defined by choice as online sales remain robust, brick-and-mortar browsing regains momentum and strong promotions help retailers compete for shoppers’ wallets.”

As far as what’s selling, Mastercard anticipates the following retail trends:

  • Apparel Refresh: While athleisure was the fashion statement of 2020, this year brings the diversification of the wardrobe as in-person schooling, reunions and other events drive consumers to purchase more.
  • Department Store Shopping Returns: Malls, department stores and outdoor shopping centers will offer a change of scenery for shoppers. Mastercard forecasts a 25.3 percent year-over-year, 9.5 percent, YO2Y increase in the Department Store sector as it rebounds from last year. Buy online, pick-up in-store, and contactless shopping will remain important as consumers continue to seek low-contact experiences.
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Jun 17, 2021

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