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NRF Predicts Back-to-School Sales Increase

After cutting back their spending last year, the NRF predicts that parents will hit stores this summer to replace and replenish what their children might have had to make do with last year. The survey shows that parents expect to spend about $85 more on average for kids in K-12 and $99 more for college students, with combined K-12 and college spending expected to reach $83.8 billion

“When it comes to their children, there’s nothing more important to a parent than making sure their children have everything they need, even in a tough economy–and especially when it comes to back-to-school shopping,” says Matthew Shay, president and chief executive officer, NRF. “Backpacks rip, pencils break and children grow, there’s no way around it, but as they begin tackling their shopping lists, parents will make sure to spend smarter than they ever have before.”

In fact, 84.8 percent of consumers with school-aged children say the economy will impact their spending plans in some way, with shoppers paying more attention to sales and actively comparing prices.

“The budget-conscious consumer has not forgotten about price, quality or value, we’re merely seeing a more savvy shopper,” says Pam Goodfellow, director, BIGinsight Consumer Insights. “There’s no questions consumers have become more practical in their shopping, and with school purchases oftentimes considered a necessity, parents have likely been saving and scrimping to be able to fully afford all of their children’s needs for the upcoming school year.”

Hoping to spread out their spending, more people have already or will begin shopping earlier than they did last year. And teens and pre-teens report that they will spend an average of $5 more of their own money on back-to-school items.

But regardless of whose money is being spent, clothing, accessories and electronics are expected to be the hot ticket items during the second biggest consumer spending event of the year, after the winter holidays.

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