Insight Report 15 minutes Premium

US Back to School 2020: The Outlook for Retail amid Uncertainty and a Gloomy Economic Backdrop

What's Inside

In this first report of our US Back to School 2020 series, we provide an outlook for US retail this season, which is being shaped by the coronavirus crisis.

We present our estimates for consumer spending on shopping for school and college, and discuss the four core market drivers behind our expectations:

1. Consumer focus on health and safety amid Covid-19, which will affect what they spend on and how they shop

2. The impact of the crisis on discretionary retail

3. Potential school and college reopening models, which may vary across states and districts—including distance learning

4. The economic backdrop—considering factors such as unemployment, home prices and consumer sentiment

We also look at the announced plans of several major US retailers in regard to the back-to-school season, including American Eagle Outfitters, Kohl’s and VF Corporation.

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