Wolfenden said she was "disappointed" with the selection at Aéropostale, which on Monday renamed former CEO Julian Geiger back to the post and prereleased second-quarter results that included a comparable-store sales decline of 13 percent.
"Everything seemed like a larger version of things you would find in the kids' department," she said.
Stifel analyst Richard Jaffe said he remains cautious on back-to-school due to limited newness in apparel.
It's also too soon to gauge whether strength from back-to-school will translate into a successful holiday. Last year, positive back-to-school sales gave some retailers a strong start to the second half, but demand slowed after Labor Day. This led to overstocked stores, which contributed to the dramatic promotions seen last Christmas.
"I think last year we had a really good back-to-school business and then business died mid-September," Kohl's CEO Kevin Mansell said. "Every year is different. Every year is volatile."
—By CNBC's Krystina Gustafson
Update: This story has been updated to include new data from NRF and American Eagle's earnings results.