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Back-to-school trends from the National Retail Federation

Back-to-school trends from the National Retail Federation

The National Retail Federation is one of the leading voices in shopping trends, and it's a smart move for store owners to keep an eye on the association's statistics. Recently, it released the results of the 2013 Back-to-School Spending Survey, which sheds light on what students and their parents are planning to buy and how much they're willing to spend as September approaches. Let's take a look at some of the highlights from the survey to determine what retailers can do to optimize business during this season.

For K-12 kids
This year, you can expect parents of children who are in kindergarten through high school to be looking for more sales than they did in 2012. According to the study, shoppers expect to spend around 8 percent less on school supplies this year compared to last That may be because there was a surge in spending last year, which means shoppers may have less space in their budget this time around.

Parents will also be looking for the best prices by comparing sales online. If you want to draw shoppers into your store, it would be wise to take a look at what your big, web-based competitors are listing. Once you do, you can adjust your prices accordingly and use store signs to advertise the fact that you have unbeatable prices. You may even want to offer a promotion that tells shoppers you will try to beat any price they find online.

For the college crowd
It's a tough economic climate for college students, and the survey's results reflect that fact. According to the NRF, around 50 percent of college seniors say they plan to live at home for their final year of study. This means they'll be looking for items that can help them feel relaxed and independent while under the same roof as their parents. Consider stocking your display tables with posters and other home decor that will let students give their bedrooms a unique sense of style.

Those who are looking to move onto campus will still want to be stylish. Parents will spend around $104 on average for bedding and other decorative accents for their child's dorm room, so consider creating a window display that showcases your trendiest room decorations. When it comes to planning sales, it might be smart to target men – the survey showed that fathers plan to spend 34 percent more on college supplies than mothers.