Back-to-school sales are weak this year, which is bad news: It suggests that consumers might not be in much of a mood to spend.
New pencils and backpacks and binders are in the category of men’s underwear when it comes to predicting shopper behavior. The problem isn’t that sagging sales of those products represent a huge loss of revenue, but that they imply a grim mood among consumers. It’s nice to buy your kid a new backpack and a bunch of fun pens and a binder to help excite them for the new year. But in tough economic times, you can just use last year’s Jansport, and the pens lying around the house. And that’s what’s happening this year, which suggests that consumers really are feeling the strain. Those green shoots, it seems, are not growing quite fast enough.
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