Back-to-School Predictions Vary

An imminent back-to-school season has economic prognosticators working overtime as they try and estimate how much money Americans will spend on their children this year.

Families with school-aged children will spend an average of $443.77 on back-to-school items, down 8.2 percent from $483.28 last year, according to the National Retail Federation 2005 Back-to-School Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted by BIGresearch.

Back-to-school spending is estimated by the NRF to reach $13.4 billion this year, down from $14.8 billion last year.

Focusing on apparel, Britt Beemer, chairman and founder of America's Research Group, said some hefty discounts would be needed this year to bring shoppers out. “Retailers could make this a better buying season with big discounts in the 33 to 44 percent range,” he said.

Beemer stated that parents have “much lower” spending plans for this year — $296.20 compared with $411.24 last year. Wal-Mart, he noted, would continue to be the main beneficiary of that reduced spending over its closest competitors in the back-to-school race — JCPenney, Sears and Old Navy.

MasterCard said that a survey it sponsored — conducted by Harris Interactive — showed 34 percent of parents raising students that are college age or younger said they expected to spend more this year than last and one-sixth expect those costs to top $500.

The survey by MasterCard also showed that 70 percent of parents with children younger than college age said they plan to use their debit cards for back-to-school purchases.

Home & Textiles Today Staff | News & Commentary

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