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Back-to-School Shopping May Be Slower Due to Economic Concerns

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Parents shopping for clothes and supplies for their kids to take into the new school year may be approaching the task with less enthusiasm--and less willingness to spend--than in past years.  Reuters reports that though national trends actually indicate increased spending on back-to-school, the timing and expense of it is changing for many families:

With parts of the country such as Atlanta already sending children back to class, the back-to-school season is in full swing and retailers remain hopeful that shoppers will turn out heading into the final stretch.

Kohl's Corp. Chief Executive Kevin Mansell said the back-to-school season "has been more and more bridging August and September" based on his chain's research and other data.

"We used to see people starting in late July, and I don't see that as much anymore," said Maureen Bausch, executive vice president of business development at the Mall of America, in Bloomington, Minnesota.

She expects people to finish their back-to-school shopping in September once kids see what is cool in the classroom.

Total back-to-college spending is expected to reach $53.5 billion this year, while total spending by families with children in kindergarten through 12th grade is expected to be $30.3 billion, the National Retail Federation said.

While the trade group expects the average American family to spend $688.62 on back-to-school shopping this year, a 14.1 percent increase from 2011, conversations with about a dozen shoppers across the country indicate a different story.

Image: Short pencil, via Shutterstock.

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