SOURCE: The Strive Group

The Strive Group

September 14, 2011 09:00 ET

The Strive Group Announces Key Trends Driving Back-to-School Retail Sales

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwire - Sep 14, 2011) - The Strive Group, an integrated merchandising supply chain company servicing the retail and consumer packaged goods (CPG) sector, today announced four trends that drove sales through retail displays during the 2011 back-to-school season. In a tough economic climate, retail merchandising plays an increasingly pivotal role in connecting brands with time- and budget-sensitive shoppers hoping to fill students' backpacks as inexpensively as possible with essential back-to-school products. As a result, The Strive Group experienced a significant increase in projects this season.

The back-to-school season, which typically runs from June through September, is the second biggest consumer spending event after the holiday shopping season. According to research from the National Retail Foundation, families with children in grades K-12 were expected to spend an average of $88.99 on school supplies this year, and combined K-12 and college spending on apparel, school supplies and electronics was expected to total more than $68.8 billion. In crowded retail environments where shelf space is competitive and consumers often come prepared with specific shopping lists, it is difficult for products to stand out.

With its integrated merchandising supply chain (IMSC) process, The Strive Group helps brands overcome this challenge by providing solutions that differentiate products in the marketplace, strengthen brand recognition and generate consumer excitement. The company's creative teams include award-winning managers, designers, engineers and graphic professionals who have extensive experience designing temporary and permanent displays to meet diverse goals, including sales growth and sustainability. These teams work closely with Strive's manufacturing and fulfillment professionals to produce displays that are developed within budget and delivered on time.

Based on work with the world's leading CPG companies and retailers, The Strive Group identified the following key trends shaping 2011 back-to-school retail merchandising:

  • The season expanded, starting earlier -- In order to maximize revenue and attract the nearly 22 percent of consumers who begin shopping two months before the new school year, many CPGs and retailers jumpstarted back-to-school programs. Strive began strategizing and conceptualizing programs in early spring so displays would be in retail environments by late June.

  • School busses were re-imagined, re-configured -- The iconic school bus is a perennial favorite for this shopping season, but CPGs and retailers alike sought creative ways -- both from the consumer and CPG/retailer perspective -- to revive and energize the classic yellow vehicle. For Strive, this meant creating a unique, life-sized, safari-themed bus for one client and creating a filled-pallet display with easy-to-ship and -assemble components for another client's supply-chain efficiency.

  • Smaller displays were designed to move product quickly -- Strive found that CPGs and retailers requested smaller displays. This translated into an increase in orders for counter-shelf and related units that could be placed at point-of-purchase to attract impulse buyers. By using less product now, companies can ensure displays are sold out and replaced with new displays and product for the upcoming holiday season.

  • Designs incorporated bright colors -- Vivid greens are big this year, as are brilliant shades of yellow, including those on school bus displays. These hues give displays the extra pop needed to stand out in crowded retail environments and align with the imagery adult shoppers associate with school-time memories.

"The back-to-school season is critical for many of our clients and they have come to rely on the competitive edge our solutions consistently deliver," said Jeff Sharfstein, CEO, The Strive Group. "Our knowledge of shifts in market conditions, awareness of industry trends and understanding of consumer behavior combine to help us deliver solutions that consistently provide clients with a clearcut competitive advantage on an ongoing basis."

About The Strive Group
The Strive Group's Integrated Merchandising Supply Chain (IMSC) model is a business process that compresses the merchandising supply chain to a "just in time" delivery model. IMSC encompasses the full spectrum of sales, marketing, operations, transportation, finance and procurement, aligning goals and linking teams. The Strive Group's IMSC commercialization execution model gives customers a complete understanding of the total cost of ownership (TCO); an accurate measurement of the return on merchandising investment (ROMI); and a faster time-to-market for their products. The Strive Group enables customers to reduce or eliminate obsolete materials, control inventory management, better deploy internal resources and significantly enhance service levels internally and externally. For more information visit:

Contact Information

  • Agency Contact:
    Katelyn Henry
    Version 2.0 Communications
    (617) 426-2222
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