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  • Retailers Will Need To Do More For This Back-To-School Season

    Over half (53.3%) of parents are trying to get their children to wear what they wore last year. This is compared to 36.8% last year who wanted their children to get by wearing their clothes and shoes another school year.

    Parents have much lower spending plans this year with the average at $296.20 compared to $411.24 a year ago. The big difference is last year $401-$500 and $501-$600 were the top two spending ranges while $201-$300 and $301-$400 are the top two this year. At this point in the buying season parents have only spent $71.96 so far, so there is time for stores to get aggressive and drive more sales.

    This season more parents believe they will shop through Labor Day weekend with 26.3% this year and only 20.3% last year. Wal-Mart is by far the #1 store they plan to shop with JCPenney’s, Sears and Old Navy trailing in 2005.

    2004 2005
    Wal-Mart 13.7% 23.1%
    JCPenney 9.5% 11.9%
    Sears 9.0% 9.3%
    Old Navy 12.4% 8.1%

    This will be a better apparel back-to-school season because this year 83.3% expect to spend more on clothes while last year 77.9% expected to buy more clothes than shoes. Of those spending less this year “higher gas prices” was only mentioned by 9.5% as the cause of lower spending levels.

    Parents are less likely to let their children go it alone this season since only 4.7% are letting their children make the total buying decision compared to 8.7% last year. “Retailers could make this a better buying season with big discounts in the 33% to 40% range,” Beemer said.

    Britt Beemer, Chairman and Founder of America’s Research Group predicts back-to-school spending to be up only 1.8% -- one of the weakest back-to-school shopping seasons in 10 years.

    This survey of 1,000 adults was conducted on July 8, 2005 to July 11, 2005 with an error factor of +/- 4.3%.