Sales of men's/boys' woven shirts were up nearly 15% during August compared to the same month last year in the core shops on the ActionWatch Retail Panel. Ladies' skirts also saw another large year-over-year increase in August.
But then the good news comes to a screeching halt. Overall sales of all product categories tracked by ActionWatch were down almost 20% in August compared to the same month last year (see table below). Although July was the best month of the year in terms of year-over-year sales changes, August proved to be nearly the worst (only March had a slightly greater sales decline). The late Labor Day likely moved some sales out of August and into September, so it is possible that the bad August numbers will be followed by much better September numbers.
All major categories tracked experienced greater sales declines than in July, although hardgoods and accessory comps were only slightly lower (see line chart below). Footwear was hit especially hard in August with sales down more than 22% compared to the same month last year, producing the category's worst month of the year by this measure. However, hardgoods—one of the largest categories in this retail channel—had a relatively good month with sales only down in the low teens.
All ActionWatch reports are made from the aggregated data of the participating retailers, which are located throughout the U.S. and vary in size from 750-square-foot shops to stores over 10,000 square feet. Data is collected monthly from electronic reports submitted by participating retailers.