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Parents plan to tighten BTS spending

Charleston, S.C. -- Nearly three in ten (29.1%) American parents say they will spend less this year on back-to-school purchases -- 44.5% because they have “less money,” according to a Consumer Mind Reader survey released yesterday by America's Research Group (ARG).

Others factors prompting parent to reduce spending included “higher debt” (28.6%), and “higher gas prices” (22.7%).

Based on the research, Britt Beemer, ARG chairman and founder, predicts back-to-school sales will be “extremely soft” in this year, in the range -2.0% from last year to plus only half a percent. “Overall, I expect sales to be down 1.5% compared to last year, because parents are only buying what their kids have to have,” Beemer said.

Nearly half (46.9%) of parents said they will buy only the necessary minimum, supplementing those purchases later during the Christmas shopping season. Only 1.5% of parents said they will pay full retail price for their children’s clothes/shoes compared to 9.9% last year.

They will also shop later. Some 35.2% of parents said they will wait until Labor Day weekend to complete back-to-school shopping. Beemer said that this is the highest percentage of late back-to-school shoppers in the last seven years, surpassing 2005 when 26.3% of parents planned to wait until Labor Day Weekend.

This year the top three stores preferred by parents are Wal-Mart at 15.4%, JCPenney at 11.5% and Target at 7.6%. Over the last seven years, Sears/Kmart combined have seen the biggest decline from 14.1% to 7.4%

The study of 1,000 telephone interviews with adults was conducted from July 8-10, with an error factor of plus or minus 3.8%.

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