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    Charleston, SC, July 18, 2006.... Nearly half of parents with school age children (48%) are trying to hold back their children’s back-to-school spending by convincing them to wear what they wore last year, according to a Consumers’ Mind Reader™ study conducted by America’s Research Group. Of the one in five parents who definitely plan to spend less on back-to-school this season, higher gas prices have jumped to 24.7% this year from 9.5% last year as the main reason for this cut back.

    "Consumers attitudes about back-to-school are further indication that American shoppers are not feeling really confident," said C. Britt Beemer, founder and CEO of American’s Research Group (ARG). "Those retailers that are first to offer the best prices will be the winners with parents," he predicts.

    Wal-Mart is still the #1 store to shop for back-to-school items. One in five (20.5%) state they will go to Wal-Mart while one in four (25.1%) have not yet decided where to shop this year. The number of parents willing to buy their children’s clothing at full retail-price levels has fallen to an all-time low with only 3.2% this year down from 36.9% in 2001.

    Children will have some say in the matter, however, according to Beemer. Close to half of parents (46.4%) say they will allow their children to have more influence on back-to-school spending levels, compared with 44.4% a year ago. Over 90% of parents say that their children will accompany them when they shop for back-to-school clothing.

    Back-to-school spending levels will be up only modestly, in the 2% to 4% range. Beemer projects the final store sales level at around 3.2%.

    The Consumer Mind Reader™ survey of 1,004 adults, conducted from July 3 to July 7, 2006, has an error factor of 4.3%.

    America’s Research Group is the consumer behavior marketing firm that provides clients the insight, strategy and tactics to increase market share. America’s Research Group’s expertise in consumer behavior has made it a key resource and advisor to leading brands and top retailers in the nation for 27 years.