The world was memorized this August with the London Olympic Games, but there was still plenty of captivating retail news to tell back across the pond. On the policy front, NRF stayed hot on the push for sales tax fairness before the Congressional summer recess began. While consumers helped beat economists’ estimates thanks to stronger than expected July retail sales numbers, NRF recognizes that the ripple effect of the oncoming fiscal cliff will have a huge impact on whether consumer confidence will continue to grow or if this uncertainty will trickle into the holiday season ahead. Putting policy aside, read on for what else was hot in retail last month.
- The excitement is palpable inside NRF’s office this time of year (though the same may not be said for students everywhere) for the annual update of NRF’s Back-to-School Headquarters. HQ was chock full of the usual blog posts, stats and a #BTS-themed Twitter feed for all to enjoy, but there were two new additions this year. NRF’s Back-to-School Cheat Sheet was the go-to syllabus for top trends driving consumer spending, historical data, insights into the key shopping influencers, among other tidbits. And the first-ever Back-to-School infographic was another big hit, catching the eyes of social media and e-commerce moguls like Mashable, Multichannel Merchant, and many more.
- Visitors have stayed tuned in to NRF’s 4-5-4 calendar so far this year. For the sixth consecutive month, visitors have referenced this voluntary reporting guide which ensures sales comparability between years by dividing the year into months based on a 4 weeks – 5 weeks – 4 weeks format.
- Keeping pace with NRF’s Back-to-School headquarters was the announcement of the 2012 Back-to-School Consumer Intentions Survey. With many Americans “making do” last year with merchandise they already owned, parents with school-aged and college-aged children were ready to spend smartly to replenish broken pencils, ripped backpacks and other classroom essentials. The back-to-school season is the second-biggest consumer spending event next to the winter holidays, and in 2012 consumers with children in both age groups said they’d spend a combined $83.8 billion.
- This summer was sweltering across the country, and the retailers that made STORES’ 100 Fastest Growing Retailers list rivaled the heavy heat. The Hot 100 Retailers list is the definitive annual ranking of the fastest-growing retail chains in the United States determined by increases in U.S. sales over 2010 and 2011. Organic grocer Sprouts Farmers Market grabbed the top spot, and the list is ripe with sustained sizzle, with twelve retailers making the Hot 100 for seven consecutive years.
- The announcement of NRF’s Integrated Mobile Initiative, or IMI, was also hot in August. Drawing from NRF’s cross-sector membership base of more than 9,000 companies and industry experts, IMI will serve as a focal point for discussion and best practices on the practical aspects of mobile retailing today. The site is stacked with resources covering the hottest trends in m-commerce, mobile marketing, mobile payments and more.
- Top 10 back-to-school trends for 2012
- CEOs of HSN, Avon and TJX among “World’s Most Powerful Women”
- How data is driving the future of fashion at ModCloth
- Technology is just a part of the magic at Build-A-Bear
- What we need to learn from the Retail Tech Titans
Top retail stories in NRF SmartBrief