Consumers plan to do most BTS shopping at discount stores

Study finds many households plan to increase spending this year

NEW YORK — More than one-third of U.S. consumers say they're likely to spend more during the back-to-school season this year, according to a study.

The ICSC-Goldman Sachs consumer-tracking survey found that the BTS season had already started for 29% of households, with consumers expecting to spend about $285 on items and 39% saying they'll spend more than last year. The percentage of consumers shopping for BTS items at this time of the season is lower than last year, but higher than in all other years since 2004, and two-thirds said they do most of their BTS shopping in August.

Eighty-nine percent of respondents said they would be shopping for school supplies, while 79% said they would shop for clothing. Forty-five percent plan to spend the same amount last year, while 17% will spend less, and three-fifths of those who plan to increase spending will mostly buy supplies and clothing.

"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," ICSC VP research and chief economist Michael Niemira said. "However, this year, consumers plan to do considerably more of that shopping at discount stores than anywhere else, followed by office supply and traditional department stores."

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