Retailers: Slow start to back-to-school season

NEW YORK – Shoppers are holding off on back-to-school shopping, and those who delay long enough might be rewarded with some steep discounts from desperate retailers.

Revenue at stores open at least a year – an industry measure of a retailer’s health- rose 3.5 percent in July, the slowest pace since March, according to a tally of 11 retailers by the International Council of Shopping Centers. The figure, which excludes drugstores, was below a 5.5 percent increase in June. Costco Wholesale Corp., typically a strong performer, was among the retailers reporting disappointing figures. Many stores were already offering discounts and other come-ons to get shoppers to spend on the new shipments of fall clothing that started flowing in mid-July. But experts say even more deal are coming this month as stores try to boost sales for the back-to-school season, which runs from mid-July through mid-September.