NRF Finds Back-to-School Bonanza

Washington, D.C., College students and their parents will spend a whopping $34.4 billion returning to campus this year, up 33.8% from 2004 and more than double what parents of K-12 students will spend on back-to-school, according to the third annual NRF 2005 Back-to-College Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted by BIGresearch.

When combined, the $47.8 billion that will be spent on back-to-school and back-to-college merchandise this year will rank second only to the holiday season in seasonal sales. NRF’s Back-to-School survey, which monitored spending for K-12 students, found that back-to-school spending would see sales of $13.4 billion.

“The spending power of college students is something that retailers are just beginning to grasp,” said NRF president and CEO Tracy Mullin. “And there is no sign that this market is slowing down.”

Spending on back-to-college merchandise will rise in all tracked categories. In all, parents and students will spend $11.9 billion on textbooks, $8.2 billion on electronics, $3.6 billion on dorm and apartment furnishings, $3.0 billion on school supplies, $5.7 billion on clothing, and $2.0 billion on shoes. With college students planning to spend $700 million more on electronics than last year, retailers should be able to make up for an expected dip in electronics spending by K-12 students and their parents.

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