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Old Navy, Walmart & Target lead back to school retailers

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Wed, 30/07/2014 - 14:59
Ted Marzilli
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As back to school season hits full swing, YouGov BrandIndex, the only daily brand consumer perception research service, takes a look at parents’ perception of the major apparel and general merchandise retailers.

The results show that the brands fall into three distinct tiers.

Important factors in these measurements: YouGov BrandIndex’s purchase consideration score, an indicator of potential sales, Value which has become increasingly important for consumers since the Great Recession, and Ad Awareness.


The top tier of back to school retailers includes three brands: Old Navy, Walmart and Target have the highest combination of purchase consideration and value perception levels with parents. All three also have the highest ad awareness in the entire back to school sector.

Old Navy has been a particular stand-out: not only are they atop the overall retailer perception chart with parents, but they made the biggest purchase consideration gains over the past four weeks, compared to the same time period last year, and notched the highest ad awareness of the entire 28-brand major retailer group.


Behind those top three is the middle ground, where combined purchase consideration and value perception scores are very competitive yet remain a considerable distance away from the top tier. These include generalists like J.C. Penney, Kohls, Macy’s, Sears, Marshall’s, and Kmart, as well as teen/20-something chains which are doing better than their peers like Forever 21, H&M, American Eagle, Charlotte Russe and Aeropostale.


The lower third of retailers are comprised mostly of teen and luxury retailers such as Wet Seal, Urban Outfitters, Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, J. Crew, Hollister, and Lord & Taylor. The retailer with the lowest current combined purchase consideration and value perception scores is Abercrombie + Fitch, despite having the biggest increase in value perception over the past 30 days.


The potential of the deck being shuffled until Labor Day is real as campaigns roll out and parents decide where to shop: for example, despite being perched in that top tier, Target has seen the percentage of parents who say they would consider buying from them next time they are shopping in a department store drop from 54% to 45% over the past four weeks versus the same period one year ago, more than any other retailer.

Both Sears and J.C. Penney have also seen significant purchase consideration losses in that same time period, although JCP has the fifth highest purchase consideration score at 23% and Sears comes in 11th place with 18%.

Old Navy has made the most significant gain in purchase consideration compared to the same period last year, with H&M, wet seal and Charlotte Russe making significant strides


Wanting to get an early jump to pump sales, the last 30 days has seen several back to school retailers’ value perception tick significantly upwards, such as Forever 21, Old Navy, J. Crew, Charlotte Russe, Gap, Hollister, Saks, Lord & Taylor, and Walmart.
Target and Sears have notably fallen back on this front


Periodically until shortly after Labor Day, YouGov BrandIndex will measure 28 of the most popular back to school apparel and general merchandise retail chains as perceived by adults with children under the age of 18. Each retailer will be charted by combining two of YouGov BrandIndex’s most relevant scores: Purchase Consideration ("When you are in the market next to purchase office supplies, from which of the following brands would you consider purchasing?”) and Value (“Does it give good value for what you pay?"). The size of each bubble in the chart relates to their Ad Awareness score, which asks respondents: "Which of the following brands have you seen an advertisement for in the past two weeks?"

YouGov BrandIndex ( interviews 4,500 people each weekday from a representative US population sample, more than 1.5 million interviews per year. Respondents are drawn from an online panel of more than 2MM individuals.

Parents Value & Consideration Bubble Chart
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Parents Change in Value & Change in Consideration Bubble Chart
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