Back to School: All About the Discount

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Back-to-school may see more retailers make the grade than previously expected, but discounts and promotions will continue to drive shoppers.

The National Retail Federation found American families will spend $606.40 on average on clothing, shoes, supplies and electronics this fall, compared with an average of $548.72 in 2009. This is even more than consumers planned to spend prior to the recession according to the NRF.

In 2007, the NRF survey indicated families were looking to spend approximately $563.49 and in 2006 said they would shell out $527.08 for back-to-school supplies.

Spending for children in kindergarten through the 12th grade is expected to hit $21.25 billion this year. Factor college students into the mix and that number jumps to $55.12 billion.

Clothing will make up the biggest chunk of parents' budgets, with families with school-age children saying they will spend $225.47 on average on jeans, shirts and other apparel. Electronics like laptops and smartphones are the next priority, with those surveyed saying they would spend an average of $181.60 on this category.

"We are encouraged by the fact that parents are eager to start their back-to-school shopping this year, but the industry still remains cautiously optimistic about recovery," NRF President and CEO Matt Shay said in a statement. "As the second half of the year gets under way, retailers will gauge their customers' spending appetites, which often serve as a bellwether for the all-important holiday season."

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