Retailers wondering about the future of brick and mortar should look at a different set of three words for some encouragement: Back to school.

In a recently released BRG Retail survey, over half (58 percent) of the respondents plan to buy (or have already bought) most of their back-to-school apparel and footwear in a physical store—even if they still buy some online. For back-to-school supplies, 57 percent are taking that approach, and about 20 percent will buy all of their back-to-school items in physical stores.

Given the beating traditional retailers have taken in recent years, this news is at least somewhat encouraging, says Keith Jelinek, co-leader of BRG’s Retail Performance Improvement practice. He noted that no other shopping season outside of the holidays is as strong for brick and mortar. But what makes back-to-school season different? And what must retailers do to stay in line with this? We talked with Jelinek to find out.

Read the Q&A at ThinkSet.