Back-to-school spending

Retailers use back-to-school spending as an indicator to adjust inventory levels for the critical holiday sales.

We already see how some major retailers are adjusting their temp hiring plans.

We will be watching the earnings reports of key retailers (due in October) closely.

A report I found said sales in 2022 were up but not at the blistering rate of 2021. Inflation must be part of the numbers. But so is competition for those dollars.

“School supplies: up 88% from Jul 1 – Jul 31, 2022, but down 129% compared to an increase of 217% in July 2021"

A Google search turned up this one:,July%2C%202021%20(up%202512%25)

Anyone see anything more recent?

Looks like holiday sales may be midrange–not a disaster but not a strong winner.

Is it just me, or was back-to-school spending much less of a big deal when I was a kid back in the 1980s? How did it become the new Christmas? (I don’t have kids of my own, so I’m not in a good position to directly see what’s going on.)

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Well, back in the 80s your kids were much less likely to need a new computer at the start of the school year…

But aside from that, seems pretty much the same. They’d have been growing ever since the end of the after-Christmas sales, so you need to stock up on clothes that fit them - just in time for the late-September growth spurt. And of course school supplies…

… and offsetting the possibility of needing a new computer, the near-certainty of having less need for paper, pens, pencils past grade 4 or so.

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The “JCs” will latch on to anything they think they can hype into more sales.

A number of years ago, Staples had a hilarious “back to school” TV ad: the parents dancing in joy (at the spawn being out from under foot during the day), as they go through the store picking up school supplies, with their spawn shuffling behind them, like galley slaves.

The net is a wonderful thing. Here’s the ad.


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You simply cannot understand the humor here until you go through a summer with school age children. It never inspired me to buy school supplies, mind you. But it was funny.