Anne D'Innocenzio at AP just put out a story about slow back-to-school sales through July. We're seeing this at BradsDeals. Our traffic numbers are well above expectations as more shoppers are focused on coupons and discounts. But they are hesitant purchasers: we are seeing smaller order sizes and more of a focus on discount stores (think Target, Overstock.com, Kohl's).
There is a very interesting point here:
The uptick in car buying spurred by the government's "cash for clunkers" program might siphon away sales from other categories like clothing and home furnishings
Might? I can guarantee it. The American consumer has no more money now then they did a few months ago. If 250,000 people just stretched to spend approximately $5 Billion in hardly a week on new cars via the Clunkers program, back-to-school retailers will certainly have to settle for a smaller piece of a very finite pie.