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Study: Families Will Spend $688 On Back-To-School Shopping This Year

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Back-to-school shopping is the next largest shopping event for consumers behind Christmas.

In the Twin Cities, stores are already gearing up.

The National Retail Federation estimates parents will spend $688 on their children this year, that's up $85 from last year.

The increased cost of supplies and a marginally improved economy do not quite explain the increase. In fact, parents may be, in part, responsible.

Leanna O'Gara, a St. Paul mother of eight, has been looking for the deals for months now. From spending more than $150 a kid for her elementary schoolers to $70 calculators for her middle schoolers, O'Gara says she's noticed an increase in spending.

"You want everything that you didn't have, and you want them to have more," O'Gara said.

Retailers and consumers alike take advantage of what Dr. George John, of the Carlson School of Management, calls "shopping events."

"So you get Thanksgiving, you get Christmas, you get Halloween, you get back-to-school," John said.

Target set up their back-to-school displays just after the Fourth of July with mark-downs impossible not to notice.

"[Customers] are there to buy, so you want to sell them more so you put things on sale; you put some new attractive stuff that they haven't seen before, and you hope it all works," John said.

It seems to have worked. With few bumps, back-to-school sales seem to have risen year to year.

As for saving money, John says he does not recommend the waiting game. While some retailers put things on sale at the end of summer, there's simply no guarantee what items will go on sale.

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