Retail same-store sales growth, excluding Walmart, slows to 2.9% in July, hurt by tough promotional environment, spending decline in low-mid income households

COLUMBUS, Ohio , August 5, 2010 (press release) – Retail same-store sales excluding Walmart sagged slightly to a 2.9% gain in July—hurt by a tough promotional environment and the diverging spending intentions of shoppers by income group, according to Kantar Retail.

The sales-weighted composite for the 31 retailers reporting—most of them apparel retailers—was slightly lower than the 3.2% same-store sales gain last month. July was much better, however, than the 4.6% decline in July of 2009 for the same measure calculated without Walmart, which stopped reporting monthly results in April 2009.

“Retail sales growth appears to be leveling off at a modest pace as it moderates from a spring surge fed by economic stimulus and pent up demand. But the results are uneven among retailers, which reflects tough price competition in certain channels and diverging spending intentions among upper and lower income shoppers,” said Frank Badillo, Senior Economist.

The results were led by stronger-than-average results at Department Stores. Apparel and Accessory Stores reported combined results close to the composite. Lagging slightly were Food, Drug and Mass retailers. (For a list of the retailers reporting and their results, please follow this link: http://www.retailforward.com/retailintel/samestr_sales.pdf.)

July’s mixed results among channels and retailers partly reflect shoppers’ spending intentions, which stabilized among upper income households while weakening among low-to-mid income households, according to the July ShopperScape™ survey by Kantar Retail (Figure 1):

The spending intentions of upper income households appear to be most sensitive to various measures of their household financial health. Their spending intentions sagged in June in the wake of stock market declines and then stabilized in July as job prospects and other financial conditions improved.

The spending intentions of mid-market shoppers continued to deteriorate slightly. The percentage of shoppers that intend to spend less in the coming month edged higher for a second straight month after improving steadily over the prior year.

The spending intentions of down-market shoppers deteriorated slightly in July for the first time since March.
The differences in July spending intentions by income group may be partly explained by households’ perceptions of their job and income prospects, which worsened significantly for down market households and improved for up-market households in July (Figure 2).

In terms of down-market shoppers, 32% said they felt worse off in July in terms of job security and 41% in terms of income levels. That represented increases of 5 percentage points and 4 percentage points respectively from the prior month.

In terms of mid-market shoppers, 30% said they felt worse off in July in terms of income levels. That was an increase of 2 percentage points from the prior month. The job security measure stayed constant.

In terms of up-market shoppers, 15% said they felt worse off in July in terms of job security. That was a decrease of 2 percentage points from the prior month. The income measure stayed constant.

Despite the recent shifts in spending intentions, the coming months should get a boost from back-to-school spending plans, according to the July ShopperScape™ survey by Kantar Retail (Figure 3).

The percentage of shoppers planning to spend more on back-to-school purchases increased to 29% in July compared with 24% in July a year ago.

The percentage of shoppers planning to spend less on back-to-school purchases dropped to 19% in July compared with 24% in July a year ago.

The percentage of shoppers planning to spend about the same on back-to-school purchases held steady at 49% in July compared with July a year ago.

About Kantar Retail
Retail Forward has joined Cannondale Associates, Glendinning Management Consultants and MVI to create Kantar Retail, the world's leading retail insights and consulting business. Kantar Retail (www.kantarretail.com) is a global retail insights and consulting business that works with leading retailers and branded manufacturers to transform the purchase behavior of consumers, shoppers and retailers. Kantar Retail has nearly 400 employees and offices in 15 markets around the globe. The company is headquartered in London and is part of the Kantar Group of WPP.

About ShopperScape™
The ShopperScape™ survey is conducted each month with a sample of 4,000 U.S. primary household shoppers. The monthly survey is conducted online among a nationally representative sample of households. This month's survey was conducted during the last week of July 2010. Results from the survey are available to members of the Retail Forward Intelligence System™ as well as through individual reports available for purchase. For more information on ShopperScape™ or the Retail Forward Intelligence System™, contact Katherine Clarke (katherine.clarke@kantarretail.com) or visit the company's web site at www.retailforward.com.

* All content is copyrighted by Industry Intelligence, or the original respective author or source. You may not recirculate, redistrubte or publish the analysis and presentation included in the service without Industry Intelligence's prior written consent. Please review our terms of use.