National Retail Federation reports parents expect to spend more on school supplies

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Saturday, July 16, 2022
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A report from the National Retail Federation found families of K-12 students are expected to spend $864 on back-to-school supplies, up $15 from last year, and up $167 from 2019.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- A report from the National Retail Federation found families of K-12 students are expected to spend $864 on back-to-school supplies, up $15 from last year, and up $167 from 2019. The findings come from a survey, in which 38% of consumers planned to spend less elsewhere to cover school expenses.

"This is a situation that's impacting everyone. So we are always open to volunteers from the community to come in and help around the school, or donate. Anybody who's got a little bit extra, I think it's all our responsibility. We all don't have the same resources, right? So if someone can do a little bit extra, we take those donations throughout the year," said Marcia Williamson, PTA President at Rogers-Herr Middle School in Durham.

The school is one of five year-round schools returning to the classroom Monday. The other four are Pearsontown Elementary, Easley Elementary, Holt Elementary, and The School for Creative Studies

"We've been busy the last couple days," said Carissa Starks, a manager at Not Just Paper in downtown Durham.

The store sells school supplies amongst other items.

"When you support local and a small business, your money stays in your community," Starks said.

Like many small businesses, they're facing challenges.

"Unfortunately, I guess due to the gas, we've been dealing with shipping costs, whereas in years past we really never had to pay shipping. Now we're having to pay for shipping, and delays in our items getting in from the manufacturer. So, it's taking double, triple the time than it has in years past," explained Starks.

Despite that, they're still offering special promotions and 10% off all supplies for teachers, a perk for Jenny Ngo.

"I'm just putting my classroom together. I've been substituting there for a while, and just got offered a full-time position. So, I'm just putting my classroom together, super exciting. Trying to figure out what I want to do, rearrange. I wanted to get white board paper on to the desk so kids can write on it so that was my main objective," said Jenny Ngo, an NC State graduate student who is set to start at Central Park School for Children in Durham later this month.

Ngo credited the school's reimbursement fund and existing supplies in aiding teachers, who often have to dip into their own pockets to stock classrooms.

"They look at these children as their own children, so anything that we can get from our wonderful parents, we accept," Williamson said, adding they're in direct communication with educators about addressing needs as they arise.

The National Retail Federation reported 43% of shoppers are doing more comparative shopping online, up 30% from last year. Furthermore, 1/4 are using coupons more often, and the number of shoppers who are looking for sales and buying more store-brand or generic products is higher than the previous few years.

According to the group's survey, back-to-college expected spending is largely flat year-over-year (down $1 from $1,200 to $1,199), though still elevated compared to 2020, when it was $1,059.

Just Not Paper is holding a teacher event on August 7th from 2 p.m. to 5p.m., including free giveaways, and doubling their discount to 20% off.