Prospective students tour Georgetown University's campus in Washington.

Jacquelyn Martin, Associated Press

Back to school sales target the college crowd

  • Article by: Dale McFeatters
  • Scripps Howard News Service
  • August 5, 2013 - 9:24 AM

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.

It anticipates households will spend an average of $634 on clothing and school supplies, slipping from a projected $688 last year.

According to Bloomberg News, major retailers are aiming at college-bound students instead of their younger siblings.

Why focus on crayons when you can be selling comforters and couches?

Bloomberg cites Credit Suisse analyst Michael Exstein as urging retailers to use sales to college students to build long-term sales relationships.

Never mind that college enrollment was down 2 percent last year from the previous year. Or that this customer base, upon graduation, may be hauling comforters and couches to their parents’ basements.

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


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