ShopperTrak: Back-to-school sales to rise 4%

Chicago -- Year-over-year national retail sales and foot-traffic are expected to increase for this August’s back-to-school season, according to ShopperTrak, with the overall sales number coming in 4% higher than last year.

"This increase will follow year-over-year U.S. retail sales growth in 28 of the last 29 months,” said Bill Martin, ShopperTrak founder. “August will present retailers with a tremendous opportunity to take all steps possible to maximize their shopper opportunity and increase conversion rates."

ShopperTrak reports year-over-year foot traffic percentages have been trending positively since Presidents Day. The people counting company expects the trend to continue through August. Falling gas prices in recent weeks may encourage customers to make more car trips and visit more stores than they did last year. Lower prices at the pump may also translate into additional disposable income that parents can spend on their children.

"For the last couple of years, traffic data indicated a trend toward very targeted shopping,” Martin said. “This year, back-to-school shoppers will visit more stores and browse for the best value. Stores that plan ahead and keep a close eye on their foot traffic and conversion rates will be pleased with their performance this season. Those who depend on last year's shopper turnout and behavior as a guide for their staffing and inventory plans are, however, at risk of losing out on business this year."

ShopperTrak measures retail foot traffic in more than 45,000 locations across 74 countries.