Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: Parents want back-to-school bargains

August 6, 2010

Check Out how and where parents plan to shop for back to school items.

Parents really put a crimp in retailers’ July sales, holding off on shopping to see what markdowns they could snag this month. As we wrote yesterday, July same-store sales missed the mark in part because cash-strapped parents – and all shoppers for that matter – were being careful with their money, as angst seems to have come over consumers again. And who can blame them- the U.S. economy shed 131,000 jobs last month.

According to the Accenture Back-to-School Shopping Survey last week of 502 parents of school-age kids, shoppers want only one thing this season: bargains, bargains and more bargains.

And they mean it. Even though more shoppers (30 percent) plan to spend more on back-to-school than fewer (20 percent) this year, the survey respondents overwhelmingly (89 percent) said prices and discounts were their No. 1 consideration, ahead of quality (74 percent.)

And so their number one (87 percent) destination will be discount retailers like  Costco, Target and Wal-Mart, far ahead of specialty office supply stores.

Students hoping to get an iPad for the new school year might be sorely disappointed: only 8 percent of parents plan to buy electronics (excluding laptops and cell phones.) Parents are mostly planning to spend on school supplies and on clothing. But as we saw with the poor July sales results at most teen apparel stores, they are waiting until the last minute to refresh junior’s school wardrobe to see if they’ll get a bargain.

Also in the basket:
-Kraft profit beats
-John Lewis sales growth slows

(Reuters photo)

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