September Same-Store Sales Weaken, Holiday Shopping Outlook Not Rosy

October 24, 2007

This article is included in these additional categories:

Retail & E-Commerce

September same-store sales growth weakened – to 1.3% – from the prior month and from the prior year for about 50 retailers (pdf) reporting monthly results, according to TNS Retail Forward. That’s down from a 3.1% sales-weighted composite reported in August and 4.3% composite reported in Sept. 2006, TNS said.

September’s results were pulled down by weaker-than-average results at Apparel and Accessory Stores, Department Stores, Dollar Stores and Discount Department Store. The only above-average results were at Drug Stores and Warehouse Clubs.

Some findings from the study follow.

Plans by shoppers to hold the line on Halloween and holiday spending were evident in the TNS Retail Forward’s September ShopperScape survey:


  • This year only two-thirds of shoppers plan to spend on Halloween, down from three-quarters of shoppers last year.
  • The change in Halloween spending plans is also evident in a smaller share of shoppers planning to spend “about the same” as they did last year (-9%) and a bigger share of shoppers planning to spend “somewhat less” or “much less” than last year (+4% combined).
  • Down Market shoppers are least likely to participate this year in Halloween. Up Market shoppers are most likely to participate.


  • More than one-quarter of shoppers (27%) plan to spend “somewhat less” or “much less” than last year. That’s up 6 percentage points from a bit more than one fifth (21%) of shoppers last year.
  • Conversely, a bit less than two-thirds of shoppers (65%) say they plan to spend “about the same” or “somewhat more” than last year. That’s down 8 percentage points from nearly three-quarters (73%) of shoppers last year.

“Warm weather no doubt explains part of the chill in September sales, but shoppers are also clearly telling us they want to hold the line on spending. That was the case for back-to-school spending and shoppers are also cutting their plans for Halloween and the holidays,” said Frank Badillo, director of the Retail Forward KnowledgeBase and senior economist for TNS Retail Forward.

About the study: The TNS Retail Forward ShopperScape survey is conducted each month with a sample of 4,000 US primary household shoppers. The monthly survey is conducted online among a nationally representative sample of households. This survey was conducted during the last week of September 2007.

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