Back-to-school spending: Buy now, save now

C.O. shoppers, retailers discuss trends for season

POSTED: 9:12 PM PDT August 5, 2013 
BEND, Ore. -

The ads are out and parents are rushing in for the back-to-school deals.

"We've found that our guests really love to shop earlier," Patrick Tyvand, team leader at the Bend Target, said Monday. "It's something where I think they've learned if they wait until the end of the season, the product can be gone, sometimes, if they've waited until school started, or even after."

Kara Kirkpatrick is a cost-conscious shopper. This year, she's checking off the list for her three kids earlier.

"Last year I did it late and everything was out, and it cost probably more money than had I done it early. So this year we decided to do it early," Kirkpatrick said.

She's not the only one. The National Retail Federation said more parents are shopping early this year than ever before. And they're spending about 8 percent less. The per-family shopping total is expected to average $635, down from $689 last year.

The expected back-to-school sales drop comes despite a 7.3 percent rise in the cost of school supplies, fees and activities.

"I saw that they had sales here, and so we came here for the sales stuff. So we try, because it really does add up," Kirkpatrick said.

The bright side for shoppers: Retailers know people are cutting back and they're offering bargain deals to get your business.

"We have both in-store sales and national sales," Tyvand said. "And it is earlier and earlier every year. Si we give those customers that want to shop earlier the benefit of having the product ready and at a low price for them at that time,."

It's families like the Kirkpatricks whose dollars will follow the deals.

"With three kids, it adds up. And we'll probably come for a decent amount of money, so get stuff when it's really on sale," she said.

For a list of school supplies in your school district, visit http://www.bend.k12.or.us/education/components/scrapbook/default.php?sectionid=1, http://www.redmond.k12.or.us/, http://crookcounty.k12.or.us/, http://www.jcsd.k12.or.us/