Back-to-school is the second-biggest shopping season, after the holidays. At a time when stores are already struggling, traditional sprees are expected to be smaller with students learning at home, Axios' Courtenay Brown reports.
Laptops are closing the gap for some merchants: The National Retail Federation forecasts a record-breaking back-to-school season because of more being spent on electronics for at-home learning.
- But Michael Pachter, an analyst at investment firm Wedbush Securities, told MarketWatch that any uptick in demand for electronics will "be offset by those households with one or more parents laid off or unemployed because of the pandemic."
Jie Zhang, a retail management fellow at the University of Maryland's School of Business, said in a research note that Amazon, Walmart, Target, Best Buy and Apple are positioned to benefit from the online learning shift.
- Traditional clothing stores will struggle.
- Carter's, the kid apparel company, cut its back-to-school inventory.
The bottom line: The retail apocalypse is being accelerated by new realities caused by the pandemic, like virtual schooling. The result could be more dominance by the already biggest players that can quickly pivot.
- Macy’s, which is struggling like other department stores, is using a new slogan: "No matter how we school, let’s be ready."
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🛍️ More retail woes ... Lord & Taylor, the oldest U.S. department store, known for its upscale fashions and extravagant holiday window displays, sought bankruptcy protection in Richmond yesterday, Bloomberg reported.
- The company was founded in Manhattan by two English immigrants in 1826.