WASHINGTON - U.S. students and their parents are expected to spend almost 8 percent less this year than they did during last year's historically high back-to-school season, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation.
Because of economic constraints, families will spend an average of $634.78 on school supplies, electronics and clothes, down from $688.62 in 2012, the survey found.
Total spending on back-to-school will reach $26.7 billion this year - and combined with back-to-college spending, it will reach $72.5 billion.
"There's no question that the economy still has a tight grip on spending decisions for all Americans, particularly those that are participating in the back-to-school season," said Matthew Shay, NRF president and CEO.
Many students are keeping school supplies from last year and more consumers are comparison shopping online, Shay said.
"While people are finding ways to get by, they're really trying to find ways to spend more practically. They're not making as [many] big-ticket purchases."
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The news isn't horrible. During the height of the recession in 2009, consumer spending on back-to-school purchases slid to an average of $549. In other words, spending is up significantly in the last few years, but this survey suggests consumers are still cautious.
(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)