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Survey: Back-to-school shopping delivers some hope


New York City A back-to-school shopping survey released Monday by Deloitte showed that fewer consumers expect to cut spending compared with last year; however, value will be paramount.

Among those surveyed, 64% said they plan to spend less on back-to-school items, compared to 71% in 2008. Forty-three percent said they will reduce spending by more than $100, down from 48% last year.

“Consumers may be casting a glimmer of hope for retailers, but the survey results indicate that value will top their shopping lists this year,” said Stacy Janiak, vice chairman and U.S. retail leader, Deloitte LLP. “Although retailers may not see as many wallets snapping shut as they did in late 2008, consumers still plan to stretch their dollars, telling us that that their shopping remains constrained.”

Janiak said retailers would be best served by focusing on delivering incentives and in-store experiences designed to maximize the season.

In other survey findings, 55% said general concerns about the economy were the biggest reason they expect to spend less, followed by high gas prices (50%), food (50%) and home energy (46%). However, these three inflation-related percentages are down significantly from 2008, when consumers largely attributed their reduced spending to these factors.

Consumers cited additional reasons for spending less this year, with 22% indicating a loss of job in their household and 17% expressing fears of job loss. Almost one-third (32%) said they are saving more, up 10 percentage points from last year, and 33% are paying down debt.

Not surprisingly, discount/value department stores are expected to be the big back-to-school winners, with 90% of respondents indicating that’s where they will do their school shopping. Of other places they will shop, 40% said dollar stores, 29% said office supply stores and 28% said off-price stores.

Click here for the full survey.

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