Less of a commercial bonanza

The Gleaner, Henderson, Ky.: August brings the usual heavily promoted back-to-school sales on clothes, electronic gear and, yes, even books. Some states will offer tax holidays. But those sales look to be less of a commercial bonanza than in years past.

U.S. households are expected to pare back-to-school spending by 7.8 percent over the previous year because of the uncertain economy, the National Retail Federation reports. Based on its annual consumer survey, the trade group predicts shoppers could spend up to $26.7 billion this year. It anticipates households will spend an average $634.78 on clothing and school supplies, slipping from a projected $688.62 last year.

The federation expects 56 percent of families with K-12 students will buy electronics, and those investing in a new tablet or smartphone will spend slightly less than last year, its press release says. It anticipates spending will decline to $199.05 from a projected $217.88 in 2012. ...

Never mind that college enrollment was down 2 percent last year from the previous year, to 18.8 million. Or that this customer base, upon graduation, may be hauling comforters and couches to the parents’ basement, the standard headquarters for new graduates undertaking what has become a difficult job search.

But those recent graduates won’t remain in their parents’ basements forever. Or so everybody hopes.

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