Business

Research firm forecasts muted back-to-school sales

Retailers will see fewer customers visits during the critical back-to-school season, a research firm forecast Tuesday, but it expects shoppers will spend more than last year.

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NEW YORK — Retailers will see fewer customers visits during the critical back-to-school season, a research firm forecast Tuesday, but it expects shoppers will spend more than last year.

ShopperTrak, which is based in Chicago, said it expects customer counts to dip 1.4 percent, while total retail revenue will increase 3.5 percent for August compared with the same month in 2009. That compares with a 7.7 percent drop in traffic and a 4.9 percent decline in sales last August.

"The data we've received from thousands of retail clients throughout the year shows traffic levels have been slightly down since just before the holidays, but spending has remained positive during this time, which points to value-driven consumers spending more during less trips to the mall," said Bill Martin, co-founder of ShopperTrak.

ShopperTrak measures measures retail revenue and traffic at more than 50,000 outlets.

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