Back-to-school shopping expected to increase this year

Retail industry experts predict a healthy increase in K-12 and college back-to-school spending, partly because last year's spending was so low.

According to the National Retail Federation, parents will fork-over $688 bucks per child this school year, that's up from $603 dollars last year. In other words, the average two-child home is budgeting $1,376 for clothing, electronics and school supplies.

The jump is more dramatic for families with students heading to college. Take for instance K-12 spending which is expected to rake-in $30 billion in sales. That's nothing compared to the $53 billion university students should spend. Economists say collegiate expenditures are higher because the dormitory lifestyle can require expensive purchases like futons, high-end electronics and cleaning supplies.

But it's not all good news as 38-percent of American households are budgeting their back-to-school spending, while others cut back in other lifestyle arenas to much needed free-up cash.

"It's often thought that consumers may be spending more on back-to-school items, but maybe not eating out as much or going to the movies as much. In other words, they're reallocating their dollars to the back-to-school items and other things may be cutting back on,” Richard Measell, Saint Mary’s College assistant professor of economics said.

Retailers are also hoping the back-to-school shopping season carries well into September as parents look for “hot deals" and kids ask for the "hot items" their friends may be sporting in the classroom.

"We had a pretty weak first half of the year, but hopefully we'll see some improvement and the economy will grow at a faster pace in the second half of the year,” Measell concluded.

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