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Back-to-school shopping to cost Americans more than ever amid inflation spike


Back-to-school shopping is expected to cost Americans a record amount this year, as shoppers face high inflation across the country.

This weekend kicks off classroom shopping as nine states across the country have declared a sales tax holiday. The National Retail Federation predicts Americans will spend a record $41.5 billion, up from last year’s $36.9 billion and the previous record of $37.1 billion set in 2021.

On average, families with children in elementary school through high school are expected to spend $25 more than they did last year, according to the NRF’s report.

Meanwhile, spending on higher education is expected to hit $94 billion, a full $20 billion higher than last year’s number.

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“Even though consumers plan to spend more on school and college-related items this year, they are still looking to find the best value and deals,” said Phil Rist, an executive vice president at Prosper Insights & Analytics, a firm that conducted the survey along with the NRF. 

“Consumers are stretching their dollars by comparing prices, considering off-brand or store-brand items, and are more likely to shop at discount stores than last year,” he added.

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The NRF’s survey conflicts with another back-to-school spending report from Deloitte, which predicted that spending would drop for the first time in nine years.

Overall back-to-school shopping was projected to shrink to $31.2 billion, compared to Deloitte’s total of $34.4 billion in 2022, according to the new report, while consumers were personally expected to spend 10% less this year.

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Deloitte pointed to inflation for the predicted drop, saying it would cause Americans across all income levels to allocate their dollars toward necessities and skip out on non-essential purchases.

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Back-to-school shopping is just now heating up, with high spending expected to continue for the first three weekends in August.



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