For Retail Franchises the Back-to-School Shopping Season Spells Strong Sales

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For Retail Franchises, the Back-to-School Shopping Season Spells Sales

By Jocelyn Chavez
If it seems as though no sooner do schools let out for summer break, and the Fourth of July celebrations conclude, before gearing up for the back-to-school season begins, there is good reason. With earlier school start dates and growing classroom supply lists the back-to-school shopping frenzy is underway. Back-to-school (including back-to-college) shopping is the second biggest consumer spending event for retailers, behind the holiday shopping season. And retail franchises that carry a wide-range of back-to-school must-haves, from clothing and electronics, to school supplies and home products are benefitting as families prepare for the impending school days.
The onslaught of back-to-school shoppers armed with shopping lists in-hand that flood stores this time of year account for significant sales in the retail industry. Last year, consumers spent more than $55 billion on back-to-school shopping, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF). This year, combined back-to-school and back-to-college sales are expected to reach $68.8 billion.
Reading, Writing, Arithmetic…and Shopping
Getting the school year off to right start requires planning and preparation. With clothing, school supplies, electronics- and in the case of college-age students, furnishings and personal care items- topping back-to-school shopping lists, all of that stocking up can be pricey. According to the NRF’s 2011 Back-to-School survey conducted by BIGresearch, families with children in grades K-12 will spend an average of $603.63 on apparel, school supplies and electronics. NRF’s 2011 Back-to-College survey, also conducted by BIGresearch, finds that parents and college students will spend an average of $808.71 on everything from apparel and electronics, to dorm furnishings and food items.
Electronics will account for the largest portion of back-to-college shoppers’ budgets, with the average person expected to spend $209.93 on electronics. And electronics stores will be a popular stop on many families shopping expeditions. Approximately 20% of both back-to-school and back-to-college shoppers plan to make at least one purchase from electronics stores (21.7% and 19.6% respectively, according to the NRF surveys).
Shoppers are also planning to hit department stores, discount stores, clothing stores, office supply stores, drugstores, home furnishings stores and retail websites in an effort to check items off their back-to-school shopping lists.
Unlike adults who can often get more mileage out of previous seasons’ wardrobes, growing children typically require new clothing and shoes at the start of the school year. By age 17, the average American has spent approximately $14,300 on clothes and outgrown about 1,300 items, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) data and a ThredUP (a children’s clothes, toys and books swapping website) survey. This back-to-school season families of school-age children will spend an estimated $220.60 on clothing and an average of $104.53 on shoes, according to the NRF Back-to-School survey. Like their younger counterparts, back-to-college shoppers will also purchase, on average, approximately $127.37 worth of clothing and accessories.
In addition to restocking their closets, back-to-college shoppers are also devoting their shopping budgets to outfitting their dorm rooms and apartments, and replenishing their pantries. The NRF Back-to-College survey found that average spending on dorm furnishings is $96.84 and food items is $94.60.
Along with retailers experiencing a spike in sales as the school year approaches, the food and restaurant franchises that help shoppers refuel during marathon back-to-school shopping trips, also see increased traffic. 
The back-to-school shopping season is a boon for a wide-range of retailers. Whether you’re interested in owning an electronics store, a clothing store, a home furnishings business, or a food franchise, there are numerous retail franchise opportunities that allow you to tap into the dynamic retail industry.