While analysts had expected only modest gains during the hot summer month, major marketing campaigns, new merchandise and the beginning of the back-to-school shopping season all helped buoy sales at a number of major outlet stores, The Associated Press reports.
Hot weather and summer clearance, coupled with some newness in stores in the back half of the month, is leading to a nice upside heading into back-to-school, Ken Perkins, president of the research firm RetailMetrics, told the news agency.
Job seekers with retail and sales experience on their resumes may want to look at some of the biggest industry performers, which include Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic. Target stores also have been seeing increased foot traffic, with revenues up more than 3 percent at outlets that have been open more than a year. Second quarter sales were also strong at Hot Topic, American Eagle Outfitters and Bath & Body Works. Analysts said the solid gains in the retail sector have helped offset some worries about the economy and jobs as consumer spending accounts for 70% of the country's economic activity.
Meanwhile, the National Retail Federation (NRF) is calling on lawmakers to simplify and streamline the sales tax system to allow states to collect from remote and online retailers. The groups said the move would level the playing field between online shopping sites and brick-and-mortar outlets, as well as protect consumers and help create and retain retail jobs.
Brick-and-mortar retailers are major contributors to the health of local communities and should not be placed at a disadvantage compared to remote [and online] sellers that have no local presence, NRF Senior Vice President David French said.
The NRF said retail operators help support 1 in 4 jobs.