Pens, Paper and Pencils

The first day of school is just around the corner and families are flocking to the stores to load up on supplies like pens, paper, crayons and notebooks.

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), families are expected to spend an average of $603 on new clothes and supplies for the upcoming school year.

Naperville teacher and mom Molly Harrison is ready to head back to the classroom and get her two ten year old kids Jack and Megan back into the routine of school. But she knows that the price of all the book bags, markers and notebooks can add up.

“The district makes a list of each grade level so that’s a big help,” said Molly. “I use it on my own kids to kind of keep things tailored to what we need.”

Many stores understand the pressure kids put on their parents to have top-of-the-line items, so officials say they try to keep kids happy with the season’s hot items without being priced.

“Some of the things we’re really seeing flooding in right now are the ‘Hello Kitty’ items. We have a lot of backpacks, binders, notebooks, pens, and you name it,” said Suzanne Stachura, Executive Team Leader at Target. “The Paul Frank brand is also very popular. We are really working to keep prices low for our guests. You know with the economy the way that it is.”

According to the NRF, school supply sales for grades K-12 are expected to hit nearly $23 billion this year. Add in college kids and sales will hit nearly $69 billion.

18-year-old Liz Conklin is about to be a freshman at Ohio University. She and her mom Mary have been shopping for months to find everything she needs to be on her own.

“My favorite thing about back to school shopping for college is it’s completely different,” said Liz. “I’m looking for different things for my room and stuff.”

“We have to only get what’s on our list so we don’t do a lot of impulse shopping,” said Mary. “What we did was do a lot of shopping online then came here to Target to get things that are good quality but still reasonably priced.”

NRF officials say this years’ expected spending is $3 less than last year.

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