July 14, 2009

Back-to-school shopping hits hard economy

Back-to-school shopping for children is expected to drop 8 percent as parents react to an economy mired in recession, a study released Tuesday indicated.

The National Retail Federation study also indicated shopping for collegians is expected to dip 4 percent, USA Today reported Tuesday.

BIGresearch, which conducted the survey of 8,367 consumers for the retail trade group based in Washington, said those who are going away for school likely will spend more. However, researchers tempered their remarks by noting more young people indicated they are postponing pursuing advanced degrees or planning to live at home while attending school.

The economy is forcing young adults to make hard decisions about which schools to attend, where to live, and what's really a 'necessity' for college, NRF Chief Executive Officer Tracy Mullin said.

For the American Council on Education, the economic downturn is expected to generate higher enrollments at post-secondary institutions -- much as lousy economic times have previously.

ACE, a trade association of two- and four-year colleges and universities also based in Washington, is predicting an increase of 4 percent to 5 percent in enrollment this fall, based on conversations with hundreds of college and university officials, says Terry Hartle, ACE senior vice president. But it's quite possible individuals won't be spending as much ... on non-essentials.