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Quarter of Back to School Shoppers Will Spend Less

School supply aisles will feel the economy’s impact this year, according to Retail Forward’s latest “ShopperScape” report. The study finds that nearly one in four shoppers plans to spend less on back-to-school merchandise. This is up 19 percent from last year.

Consumers plan to save on spending by finding the best deals and holding back from buying more than necessary. Almost 60 percent of respondents plan to wait for good sales, 54 percent will stick to buying only essential items to save money, and 53 percent plan to reuse school supplies from around the house.

For clothing and shoes, 45 percent of respondents said they were planning to bargain hunt. Thirty-nine percent said they would just buy fewer back-to-school clothes.

The decrease in planned spending on school supplies may be a result of shoppers’ insecurity about their incomes and job security. Despite heartening news that U.S. initial jobless claims fell more than expected, only 13 percent of respondents consider their job security to be better -- the lowest monthly percentage this year.

The number of households that believe they’re better off income-wise also continued downward, declining to 23 percent for July.

Consumers seem a bit more optimistic about their finances in the long term, however. Those reporting that their household investments are better off than last year rose to 12 percent, and those who believe the value of their homes is better than this time last year rose to 15 percent -- both were the highest monthly totals for the year.
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