Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Retail therapy...hook your kids now

Retailers have a lot riding on back-to-schools sales. They're hoping we'll stimulate their revenues by $17.4 billion this year, the National Retail Federation reports.

Both the Federation and America's Research Group say they expect consumers to cut back-to-school buying by about 8 percent this season. Good luck if you are trying, say the gnomes at Huntington Bancshares in Ohio, who are tracking the prices of stuff going into kids' back packs this year. Those are up $400 or more, according to Huntington's back pack index.

Resolving this conflict produces some some pretty interesting spin on dealing recession from folks interested in separating you from what's left in your wallet. Both Capital One and K-Mart, for example, point out that times like these provide good opportunities to help our kids learn to spend wisely. That's probably true, though you might also wonder what the coupon offers in the K-Mart package teach. All kinds of retailers are incorporating prudence into their pitches this year, writes MarketWatch's Andria Cheng.

Back-to-school shopping trips are the biggest annual commitment many of us make to our kids' educations, according to GreatSchools, an online advocate of greater parental involvement in education. That's wrong, says founder Bill Jackson. He lists more than a half dozen things we can - from simply meeting teachers to reading with our kids more often - that will have a far more significant impact.

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