Thanks for Visiting!

Register for free to get the full story.

Sign Up
Already have a account? Log In

Checking In on Back to School 2023

Shira Petrack
July 26, 2023
Checking In on Back to School 2023

We checked in on the foot traffic analytics to see how key retail categories are performing as the Back-to-School 2023 season progresses.

Clothing Category Gets a Major Boost

Following a lull in April and May, the 2023 Back-to-School season is giving retail – and especially the wider apparel segment – a major boost. Since mid-May, nationwide visits to Clothing chains have consistently exceeded 2022 levels, with the visit increase growing larger in recent weeks. Students upgrading their style, parents preparing their growing children for the year ahead, and general consumers looking for new summer looks are driving visits to Clothing chains nationwide. 

Within this already strong category, foot traffic data indicates that off-price and children’s clothing segments are particularly well placed to benefit from the visit surge. YoY visits to the off-price segment have continued to rise, while YoY visits to children’s clothing chains remained elevated throughout June and the first two weeks of July. Should these patterns continue to hold, the brick-and-mortar Clothing category seems favorably positioned for a strong H2.  

Value-Priced Apparel Continues to Grow

YoY visits to thrift stores have been elevated for a while, but Back-to-School season is giving thrift store leader Goodwill an even bigger boost, with YoY weekly visits up by double digits throughout June and early July. Goodwill’s performance along with the strength of the off-price segment suggests that – although consumers may be ready for a wardrobe refresh – budgets remain tight and spending decisions are not being made lightly. 

Back to School Lifts Superstore Visits 

The Back-to-School 2023 season is also pulling up categories that have felt the impact of tighter consumer budgets in recent months. Major superstores and wholesale clubs have seen their YoY visit gap shrink significantly or turn positive in recent weeks as consumers stock up on supplies, clothes, and shoes for the year ahead. 

At the same time, the various sales events scheduled around Prime Day 2023 don’t appear to have moved the needle significantly, with the week of July 10th seeing worse YoY results than the week prior. And the weekly data indicates that Memorial Day also failed to drive a large visit spike. In fact, it was the week of July 3rd that received the biggest superstore visit boost of the past two months, likely driven by July 4th.

The weak YoY numbers for recent sales events may stem from the success of these events last year, but the performances could also offer another indication that some consumers are still being cautious with their spending. Shoppers who are coming to superstores to purchase snacks for their July 4th cookout may not be ready to spend money on the larger ticket items, and some consumers are likely still delaying unnecessary purchases that can wait until the economic situation stabilizes.

Back to School Drives Traffic to Specialty Retailers 

Beyond its impact on the larger retail categories, Back to School 2023 is also reminding consumers of the value of specialty retailers. Brands such as Staples and Best Buy are not necessarily part of most consumers’ regular shopping routine, but shoppers still seem to appreciate walking into a store to get guidance on which laptop or printer to purchase when needed.  

YoY weekly visits to Staples have been elevated most weeks since mid-May 2023, while Best Buy has narrowed its visit gap significantly in recent weeks. 

Back to School Boosts Retail Visits, But Consumer Behavior Remains Cautious 

Comparing 2023 and 2022 foot traffic to major retailers highlights the retail impact of Back to School 2023. Visits to the clothing category – and to its value-priced and children-oriented segments in particular – are up relative to this time last year. Leading superstores and wholesale chains and specialty electronics and office supply retailers are also seeing promising visit trends. 

But the data also indicates that consumers are still cautious, with large sales events failing to provide the significant bump of previous years. As the Back-to-School season wraps up – and with the holidays around the corners – retailers may need to get creative to continue drawing shoppers back to stores amidst a still uncertain climate.  

For more data-driven retail insights, visit

Get 3 brand & industry
breakdowns every week

Subscribe to the newsletter

Great! Prepare your inbox for data-driven insights...
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Get a Demo

Please enter your first name
Please enter your last name
Please provide a valid email
Please enter your email
Please enter company name

Thanks for reaching out!

One of our experts will be in touch soon

Try Free
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Text Link
Text Link
Back To School
Text Link
Coffee Chains: Q1 2024 Update and What’s Changed Since COVID
Checking in with RBI and YUM!
Chipotle & McDonald's Serving Up Success
Wingstop & Shake Shack Continue Growing Their Reach 
Strong Start for Sprouts in 2024
Crocs’ Footwear Fairytale
Who Attends NCAA Final Four Events?
Eclipse Fever: How Did the (Retail and Hospitality) Stars Align?
Exploring Albertsons Companies’ Grocery Growth Mall Index: March 2024 Recap – Malls Rise Again Office Index: March 2024 Recap
Florida Spring Break Break-Up? Travelers Still Love Florida!
Provo-Orem and Ogden-Clearfield Emerging As Utah Hotspots 
Three Formulas for Experiential Retail in 2024
Aldi & Lidl Making The Cut
Texas Suburbs on the Rise
Exploring Luxury Hotel Brands’ Guest Segmentation
The St. Patrick’s Day Effect
How Can JOANN Make a Comeback?
Panera Bread Well Positioned for Possible IPO
Who Will Benefit From Family Dollar’s Downsizing?
Dave & Buster’s and Main Event Entertainment: Food and Fun for Everyone
Darden Brands: Location Analytics and Consumer Behavior
Nike and lululemon: a Strong 2023, Sprinting into 2024
Where Is Retail and Dining Foot Traffic Thriving in Early 2024? White Paper Recap – February 2024
Three Retail & Dining Chains That May Surprise in 2024
Specialty Discount Chains Rock Retail Therapy Mall Index: February 2024 Office Index: February 2024 Recap
Ulta Beauty Continues To Shine
First Watch Sails Into 2024
Hibbett Sports and DICK’S Sporting Goods: A Psychographic Analysis
Checking in With Discount & Dollar Stores
Peeking Behind The Curtain: Movie Theaters in 2023 and Beyond
Diving Into Brick-and-Mortar Eyewear
Getting Into Gear: Exploring The Auto Part Industry
Recapping Valentine’s Day 2024 Foot Traffic Trends
Fitness: A Strong Start to 2024
Dutch Bros. Continues To Percolate Visits
Super Bowl 2024:’s Postgame Foot Traffic Analysis
CAVA & sweetgreen Are On the Rise
Hats Off For Off-Price
Who Is Shopping at Malls?
Drilling Down Into Home Improvement
Walmart, Target, Costco & Superstore Space 2023 Recap
Catching Up With Shake Shack and Wingstop
Something To Chew On: Demographic Shifts at Steakhouse Chains Office Index: Looking Back at 2023
Recapping RBI & Yum! Brands’ 2023 Foot Traffic Performance White Paper Recap – January 2024
Who Shops at Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters?
Three Taco Chains to Watch in 2024
Starbucks and Dunkin’: 2023 in Four Data Points
Who Visits CVS and Walgreens?
Fashionably Frugal: Apparel in 2023
Catching Up With Fast Food
The Grocery Sector in 2023: An End-of-Year Recap
3 Mall & Shopping Center Trends for 2024
Bakery Chains Rising To The Top and Esri Partner to Deliver Geospatial Analytics
Tampa Tourism Trends
Going For The Green: The Changing Dynamics Of Country Clubs
Christmas Day Dining Recap
Major Urban Shopping Districts – Holiday Season Recap Office Index: December 2023 Recap
Recapping the 2023 Holiday Shopping Season White Paper Recap – December 2023
7 Retail & Dining Segments to Watch in 2024
Diving Into Holiday Season Favorites
Super Saturday and Christmas Eve Eve: A Winning Combination
3 Budget Grocery Chains Finishing 2023 On a High Note
Making It In America: International Chicken Chains Bring The Heat
Domestic Tourism at a Glance: A Q3 2023 Roundup
Five Pizza Chains On The Rise
Jewelry Brands Taking Advantage of the DTC Opportunity
Secondhand News: Kids' Thrift Shops
Recapping 2023’s Dining M&As
MetLife Stadium Kicks Off Football Season Office Index: November 2023 Recap
Small Coffee Chains Brewing Big Success White Paper Recap – November 2023
Thanksgiving Travel 2023 Recap
Checking in With Nike and Lululemon
Black Friday 2023 Retail Recap
Starbucks’ 2023 Holiday Menu & Red Cup Day Performance
Turkey Wednesday 2023
Who Attended the 2023 Pickleball Championship? 
Three Surprising Holiday Shopping Trends
What’s in Store for Ulta Beauty This Holiday Season?
Best Buy and Department Stores: A Holiday Deep Dive
Discount & Dollar Stores: Strength Toward The End of the Year
The State of Off-Price Retail: Discounts Seal The Deal
Placer Mall Index Recap: October 2023 Office Index: October 2023 Recap
Retail Corridors Ahead of the 2023 Holiday Season
California, Here Gap Comes
Checking in With Home Improvement
Getting Into the Glasses Game: Warby Parker Takes Over
Fitness Positioned for a Strong 2023 Finish