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Big bucks for back-to-school
Apparel seen leading $483-per-family spree; report projects 7.2% rise to nearly $15 billion.
July 20, 2004: 12:08 PM EDT

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Back-to-school retail spending is expected to grow by 7.2 percent to $14.8 billion this year, a retail industry group said Tuesday.

Families with school-aged children will spend an average of $483.28 on back-to-school items, up from $450.76 a year earlier, according to the study done by the National Retail Federation.

Clothing will comprise most of the back to school purchase, although almost half the shoppers surveyed expect to buy electronics or computer related equipment as well, the NRF reported.

"Though parents still spend the majority of their back-to-school budget on clothes and shoes, spending on electronics has soared in the past several years," NRF President and CEO Tracy Mullin said in a statement. "Electronics have become affordable for most families, enabling parents to continue their children's education at home."

Discounters are expected to garner about 76 percent of the back-to-school shoppers, with department stores getting 42 percent and office supply stores getting 35 percent, according to the study.

Excluding autos,retail sales in June fell 0.2 percent, where economists expected a 0.2 percent gain. The drop included a drop of 5.6 percent at general merchandise stores and a 7.2 percent decline in clothing sales.  Top of page

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