August 24, 2011

The Price of Going Back to School

Why the prices of cotton and commodities is affecting back-to-school shopping.

Shelby: It is back-to-school time across the country. And that means it is back-to-school shopping time for about 60 million students.

So what are you buying for back to school this year?

Student: Maybe a new iPod, as well as some new clothes. Maybe new hats, new jeans…

Student: Dresses, shoes, bags, jewelry… Everything.

Shelby: What about you, what are you out here buying?

Student: I’m buying everything. I need clothes, I need boots, I need everything!

Shelby: This year, students from grades K-12 plan to spend about $600 on clothes, school supplies and electronics. College students and their parents will spend closer to $800. But shoppers beware. Those back-to-school essentials will likely cost you more money this year.

Back-to-school time is the second-biggest shopping season of the year after Christmas. But this year, prices across the board are rising by at least 10%, making everything from pencils to pants more expensive. The cost of raw materials is up a total of 27% since last year.

And this spring, the price for cotton soared to its highest level in 140 years, reaching $2.29 a pound. And some argue that while prices are going up, quality is going down. Retailers, in order to make money, are going to have to pass some of those price increases along to consumers.

Have you noticed as you have been out here shopping that prices are a little higher?

Shopper: Yeah, everything is higher. Everything goes up.

Teen: I love bags, so I noticed that a lot of bags went up. Even just the smallest wallet, they went up by a lot of money. Just basically everything.

Shelby: Even though prices have gone up, stores everywhere are trying to come up with ways to make sure customers feel like they are getting a good deal by having sales, handing out coupons, and even offering free shipping.

So are all of the special deals and discounts working?

Teen: Not really, no.

Shelby: No? Why not?

Teen: Because I already have supplies from last year.

Shelby: So are you cautious of prices. Is that something you are paying attention to?

Teen: Yeah, definitely, because I need to save money, and some clothing is expensive for no reason.

Teen: Well, I don’t really have a choice to spend more because everything’s more expensive. But I’m trying to get all the good deals, buy things on sale.

Shelby: Experts say that so far, consumers aren’t going to break the bank for back-to-school basics. And according to an estimate by the National Retail Federation, spending is not expected to rise much from last year.

So do you think you will spend more or less this year?

Teen: Probably more but I’m going to try to keep it less. But I don’t think that’s going to happen.

Shelby: Alright. Well, good luck!

Shelby Holliday, Channel One News.


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