Facing sticker shock at the pumps, consumers are traveling no further than their computers to log onto price comparison search engines for back-to-school deals for their kids.
While b-t-s shopping budgets will be flat or shrink slightly as cautious consumers maintain a recession mind-set, e-commerce is poised to significantly gain market share, as it did last Christmas season when it more than doubled its growth rate. “The Internet is already highly promotional,” said Walter Loeb, founder of Loeb Associates. “That’s where retailers are gaining share. Many retailers at the mall were empty last Sunday. Success this b-t-s season will be selective and it won’t be for all retailers. There’s no sense of free spending exuberance. Department stores will get their share if they don’t have a sale every Friday and Saturday,” as has been their custom during the b-t-s selling period.
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