Freshmen expected to spend less in 2010

By Brandon Herring - bio | email

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - Back-to-college spending is expected to remain about the same this year instead of continuing the normal trend of increasing, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation.

Back-to-college spending rose from 2003 to 2007 and rose again from 2008 to 2009. However, the survey showed college freshmen and their parents plan to spend 19% less on back-to-college shopping this year. Spending by other college students is expected to compensate and keep spending basically flat.

As freshmen at Coastal Carolina University came to campus for their first year Friday, many said they have made sure they are prepared, but getting everything they needed added up to a lot of money.

"There's books, supplies, everything she needs in the dorm, a T.V., her laptop," explained parent Elisa D'agostino.

However, the Federation's survey showed some freshmen are leaving laptops and other electronics off the list. That is a leading reason spending is expected to drop.

Hillary Ebert is one of those students not buying a laptop yet.

"Not right away or at least until Mom and Dad are like okay we'll help you out a little bit," Ebert said.

Parent Barb Schleich also made cuts somewhere else. She said her freshman daughter did not buy as many new clothes for the school year.

"She's packed just about everything that she's had," Schleich said. "We haven't gone out for new school clothes like would have if she was a senior in high school."

The drop in spending could be a concern for the retail industry. The manager at the Myrtle Beach J.C. Penney store said back to school sells are an important indicator of shopping trends.

"If a retailer has a successful back to school period then they can continue that success through the holiday period with continued sales increases," he explained.

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