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ICSC: Consumers expect to spend $285 on back-to-school shopping

New York -- The average household expenditure on all types of back-to-school items is expected to be about $285 this year, with 39% of consumers planning to spend more than last year and 45% planning to spend about the same. According to a new study from the International Council of Shopping Centers and Goldman-Sachs, 29% of households surveyed have started to shop for back-to-school items, which is lower than the 33% that had started at this time last year but more than in any other year since 2004.

In addition, of consumers who plan to increase spending, nearly three-fifths indicated that the bulk of their shopping will be to replace wardrobes and school supplies. The number one item that consumers need for the coming school year is school supplies (89%), followed by apparel (79%). Two-thirds of households reported that August is when they will do most of their back-to-school shopping.

“Consumers typically view back-to-school merchandise as an essential expenditure, which is likely a key reason that so many consumers plan to increase spending this year,” said Michael P. Niemira, ICSC VP of research and chief economist. “However, this year consumers plan to do considerably more of that shopping at discount stores (90% versus 83% in 2012) than anywhere else, followed by office supply (44%) and traditional department stores (41%).”