From LA Times.com:
The crucial back-to-school season got off to a slow start last month as retailers hoping for brisk sales of clothes, backpacks and school supplies saw tepid business and continued consumer frugality.
"The days of buying merchandise well before school starts are gone now. Kids would rather wait to see what the cool brands and styles are … and parents would rather put off spending until their kids will actually wear what they buy," said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst at market research firm NPD Group.
"Don't mark the back-to-school shopping season absent this year — it will just be a little tardy."
Major chain stores reported that sales rose a modest 2.9% in July compared with a year earlier, according to Thomson Reuters' tally of 28 retailers.