Retailers Experience Uncertain Start to Back-to-School Shopping

by | Jul 23, 2020

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Uncertainty Arises as Back-to-School Shopping Begins 

As the question of kids returning to school remains unanswered, retailers are starting to feel the impact.

After clearing out leftover winter and spring inventory, retailers prepared for what they thought would be a successful summer. However, they’re now seeing a significant shift in what their back-to-school inventory will look like. 

As kids prepare for the possibility of virtual learning this fall, retailers like American Eagle Outfitters shared that their back-to-school collection is more suited towards at-home learning. Chad Kessler, American Eagle’s global brand president stated, “We’re pushing leggings and doubling down on sweats” according to The Wall Street Journal.

While clothing stores adjust their inventory to meet students’ needs, other companies such as Bed Bath and Beyond Inc. hope that consumers will still be attracted to their incredibly low prices when it comes to buying essential back-to-college apartment items. 

Spending Could Rise as Families Gear up for At-Home Learning 

Although families may not be experiencing the traditional back to school shopping routine, they’ll likely end up spending more money in preparation for the upcoming school year. 

Families are spending less on traditional things such as college dorm necessities or apartments, as it is uncertain if students will spend time on campus. 

Instead, families are purchasing more electronics to prepare for the possibility of at-home learning. NFR President and CEO, Matthew Shay shared, “ By any measure, this is an unprecedented year with great uncertainty, including how students will get their education this fall whether they are in kindergarten or college” the National Retail Federation reported.

It was also reported that families with elementary through high school students are expected to spend an average of $789.49 per family, with a total of $33.9 billion, up from $26.2 billion last year. College students and their families expect to spend an average of $1,059.20, up from last year’s record of $976.78. College spending is expected to total $67.7 billion.