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Retailers bracing for lower back to school sales volumes

Staff Report • Jul 20, 2009 at 12:00 AM

According to AdAge, the National Retail Federation projects back-to-school spending will decline nearly 8 prcent to $548.72 per family from $594.24 a year ago. Back-to-college spending per family is expected to increase 3 percent from a year ago, though with fewer students attending college, according to the NRF, overall spending will decrease. In total, the season is expected to generate $47.5 billion, down from $51.3 billion a year ago."The good news about back-to-school is that many retailers saw this coming," said Ellen Davis, a NRF vice president. "Last year at this time, retailers were not terribly comfortable acknowledging the economy in advertising. This year they are. They're saying we know what you're going through and we want to help you stretch your dollar."Back-to-school season is considered the second-most-important sales period of the year behind the holidays. But it is less discretionary, because parents must purchase school supplies and replace clothes that are worn out or too small. For that reason, a poor fall could indicate the beginning of a difficult second half.

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