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Back-To-School CE Sales To Rise 2%: Forecast


The first major milepost
on the road to Q4 is back-toschool,
which can help set expectations
for holiday sales.

This year, the International Council
of Shopping Centers (ICSC) is
forecasting a 2 percent increase
in back-to-school spending on CE,
compared with a 6.7 percent rise
in 2010. The figure, based on U.S.
Commerce Department data, covers
the mid-July through mid-September

Total back-to-school revenue is
projected to rise 3 percent to $39
billion, compared with last year’s 5
percent gain, the trade association
said, led by shoes and apparel.

ICSC chief economist and research
director Michael Niemira
attributed the moderate forecast
to tough comparisons with 2010,
when spending recovered sharply
from a steep drop in 2009. Nevertheless,
consumer fundamentals
have improved relative to the same
time last year, he said, and “the
overall message from this projection
is that sales are still likely to be
quite healthy.”

For Customer Growth Partners
the outlook is even rosier. The market
research firm and consultancy
projects back-to-school spending
to climb 6.2 percent, marking the
best growth for the period since
2006, CNBC reported.

Within CE, laptops, tablets and
e-readers are expected to lead the
back-to-school parade said Staples,
which is promoting the period
by offering a 15 percent-off savings
pass for $10 that can be purchased
until Aug. 13 and used until Sept.
17. The No. 1 office-supply chain
is also rolling out wireless departments
to 400 stores in time for the
season, and is offering
students who show their college
acceptance letters or student
IDs a $100 rebate on select laptops
via prepaid Visa card.

Apple is also offering a $100
rebate, in the guise of a gift card
for use on its Mac App Store, the
iTunes Store, the App Store and the
iBookstore, when buying a qualifying
Mac direct from the company
or through a participating Apple
Authorized Campus Store through
Sept. 20. The gift card replaces
Apple’s traditional iPod giveaway.