August 10, 2012
Ronald Friedman, Co-Leader, Retail/Consumer Products Industry Group, Quoted in CNBC.com Article "Parents' New Nightmare: "The Basics' Get Complicated"
By Christina Cheddar Berk
As kids head back-to-school, parents focus on replenishing and replacing kids’ gear, but this year even the basics have gotten more complicated, creating a new nightmare for parents.
Ron Friedman, retail practice leader at consulting and accounting firm Marcum, doesn’t doubt that there is consumer demand and the desire for these products. However, he has looked at months of weakening consumer confidence and consumer spending levels, and he expects consumers will be cautious. What’s more, retailers have a high hurdle to jump to top last year’s strong back-to-school sales.
“Teenagers are pulling back, kids are going to have to make do with less, parents are being very selective,” Friedman said.
According to Friedman, wealthier consumers have the money to spend and they may continue to buy $60 T-shirts for their children, but the majority of Americans will spend cautiously until at least the presidential election this fall. What’s more, visits to Southern California stores, where schools open in mid-August, have not shown a frenzy of buying, Friedman said.
If Friedman is right, it may be back to basics for students after all.