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College Kids To Spend $3.6 Billion On Dorm/Apt. Furnishings

The National Retail Federation's 2005 Back-to-College Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey by BIGresearch found that college students and parents will spend $34.4 billion on returning to campus this year, up 33.8 percent from 2004 and more than double what parents of younger students will spend on back-to-school.

Spending on back-to-college merchandise will rise in all tracked categories, including $3.6 billion on dorm and apartment furnishings, NRF found.

Underclassmen will be the most lucrative targets for retailers this year. The average freshman plans to spend $1,151.68, largely on electronics ($540.35). Sophomores plan to drop $1,028.57, primarily on textbooks, home furnishings and clothes. Spending by juniors, seniors and grad students will also be high.

According to the findings, the most sought-after shopping destination for college students and parents will be close to campus, with 59.8 percent planning to purchase back-to-college items at a college bookstore. More than half (55.8 percent) will also shop at discount stores for back-to-college purchases. Additionally, consumers will shop at office supply stores (41 percent), department stores (36.1 percent) and online (32 percent).

When combined, the $47.8 billion that will be spent on back-to-school and back-to-college merchandise this year will rank second only to the holiday season in seasonal sales, NRF stated.

“The spending power of college students is something that retailers are just beginning to grasp, and there is no sign that this market is slowing down,” said NRF President and CEO Tracy Mullin.

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