Do Brands Really Benefit From the Back-to-School Season?

Nikara Johns

The back-to-school season is approaching, when retailers pull out all the stops to entice moms and kids to spend on their fall wardrobes and supplies. But how much do the promotions really bolster sales for brands?

To get a sense of the impact of the season, FN checked in with several footwear brands that cater to children and teens and asked how BTS measures up.

Sari Ratsula
President, Seychelles and BC Footwear
“In traditional terms, back-to-school is not very significant for us as a sales period. While our sales do tend to be high mid-July through August, the biggest items are still sandals or transitional shoes — not your traditional back-to-school fall items. Our biggest sales peaks happen when the seasons turn. Weatherwise, [it is] April through May for spring and September to October for fall.”

Scott Sessa
President, Minnetonka
“Because kids across the country return [to school] at more varied times, from August through Labor Day, we don’t see the obvious spike that we did five years ago. More people also seem to be waiting to return to school before making their purchases, so sales are picking up later
than they used to. September is the beginning of the build to our peak sales timing in December.”

Liz Bunnell
VP of marketing, Wolverine Kids’ Group
“Back-to-school really has two major seasons, [which] have always been, and will continue to be, critical times of year for us. That said, we’re seeing consumers’ buying patterns shifting to buy now, wear now, which is allowing us to deliver more of what our customers want, when they want it. We’re also seeing slight shifts by age range. For example, older kids are waiting to see what shoes are cool at school, which delays parents’ purchases.”

Bob Goldman
Founder and CEO, Cels Enterprises
“Yes, back-to-school is always a busy and exciting time in sales for us. In the recent years, the timeline for consumer purchases seems to have shifted back a few months due to a more buy-now, wear-now mentality.”

Don Weiss
Co-owner and president, Blowfish Malibu
“Back-to-school isn’t really our most effective [sales moment]. Our retailers use this time to push our product, but we see [the most] significant bumps during holiday and when spring weather kicks in. This has changed over the years due to what we believe to be the buy-now, wear-now mentality. The traditional cadence of when we expect sales to kick in isn’t what it once was.”

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