A pedestrian walks in front of a store advertising a sale.
A pedestrian walks in front of a store advertising a sale. - 
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JEREMY HOBSON: The nation's retail industry is hoping the holiday today will mean big receipts. It's been a tepid back-to-school shopping season so far.

And Marketplace's Janet Babin reports stores are pushing special promotions today in hopes of changing that.

JANET BABIN: Retailers traditionally use the Labor Day weekend to gauge the collective mood of consumers -- purchases made now can set the pace for sales until the end of the year.

Marshall Cohen is Chief Retail Analyst at the NPD Group. He says this year many consumers delayed back-to-school buying, so retailers have even more riding on Labor Day holiday sales figures.

MARSHALL COHEN: You know, in some cases back-to-school and this Labor Day weekend can represent almost up to 20-25 percent of their yearly business.

With shoppers holding back in June and July, some of that pent-up demand might be unleashed today, as shoppers look for Labor Day bargains.

Senior Retail Analyst John Morris with BMO Capital Markets says many stores have rolled out more aggressive sales and deals.

JOHN MORRIS: The retailers really know that they've got to speak the language of the consumer, which is really all about promotions and markdowns.

That said, Morris says deeper discounts will likely appear in late September and October.

I'm Janet Babin for Marketplace.