Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: Less money for pencils and school books

July 14, 2009

students1Check out the expected lower spending on back-to-school items.

Parents plan to spend less money on back-to-school gear for their children this year in another worrisome sign for retailers heading into what is normally their second biggest selling period behind Christmas.

The average family with children in kindergarten through 12th grade is expected to spend $548.72 on back-to-school merchandise this year, down 7.7 percent from 2008, according to the National Retail Federation.

Retailers can take some heart, however, as college students and their parents are expected to boost spending 3 percent to buy the latest pricey electronics and dorm-room decor. Of course, total college spending is expected to fall 4 percent as fewer attend college.

Retailers are taking action to deal with such pressures as department store operator J.C. Penney is launching a website for teens to drive back-to-school sales.

And there are some positive signs of a modest recovery.

Also in the basket:

CIT survival ensnared in regulatory battle

Marketside food items for sale in Wal-Mart stores

Grocer Basha’s files for Chapter 11 protection

Burger King Scraps Plans For $1 Burger (Wall Street Journal)

Dial-a-Mattress Retailer Blames Troubles on Stores, Executive Team (Wall Street Journal)

(Reuters photo)


I for one have been cutting back on some extras for my kids but I promised to give my son a cell phone if he did well last year so I can’t go back on my word now. I bought a prepaid Tracfone Motorola W376, I think I found a good deal. It comes with DMFL and a camera, FM radio, web access and blue tooth. It also has games like Suduko and Tetras built in which I think are good for math and co-ordination. Anyway, I got it on promotion for less than $30 which means that I only really paid something like $6 for the phone considering what the DMFL costs. I would rather cut back on my luxuries than deprive my kids.

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