Believe it or not (and I can barely believe it myself), the critical back-to-school period at the end of summer is right around the corner. While back-to-school is always big for retailers, this year’s period could be an especially important one, as 2014 has been underwhelming so far. As I started to consider the issue, what I stumbled upon may have brought up a more interesting question: What numbers would define a strong back-to-school season? In this edition of Retail Rap I begin thinking about the big picture in terms of retail sales, and about just how confusing — and perhaps even misleading — so many of the numbers can be.
Unfortunately, it’s only going to get more complicated. What is going to happen as more online vendors move into brick-and-mortar space (Piperlime is a good example)? How will we accurately measure their success without factoring in their much more substantial online performance? Today, the true health of a retailer is less about same-store sales and more about the conclusions drawn from a much more complex and nuanced picture: the sum of all of its distribution points — including Internet, mobile, catalog, and in-store.
Check out the full article from my recurring column, Retail Rap at Chain Store Age.