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Back-to-school spending to increase this year, Florida retailers say

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Florida families can expect to increase spending on school supplies this year, says the state’s premier trade association representing retailers.

With the recent news that Florida’s annual back-to-school sales tax holiday was included in the state’s final budget and expanded to a record 10 days, the Florida Retail Federation (FRF) says it means good things are in store for Florida merchants.

“Thanks to the commitment of both the Florida Legislature and Governor Scott on expanding the back-to-school sales tax holiday, the timing couldn’t be better as Florida families will see extended savings while retailers can expect increased sales,” FRF CEO Rick McAllister said in a statement. “Families are already starting to prepare for the upcoming school year, and this annual back-to-school shopping season is the second busiest behind only the winter holidays in terms of sales.”

According to the National Retail Federations’ Retail Insight Center Monthly Consumer Survey of more than 6,400 adults, 29 percent of households with school-age kids plan to spend more than last year for back-to-school, compared with nearly 24 percent who said the same thing this time last year. As for college students and their families, nearly three in 10 plan to spend more this summer, up from 23 percent last year.

The positive uptick in planned spending means that retailers’ back-to-school season could bring a welcome boost in sales after a disappointing first half of the year. Regardless of spending plans this summer, the economy is still top of mind for some families, especially when it comes to making sure their children have what they need for the school year.

Among those who say the economy will impact their back-to-school and college spending plans, 32 percent of college shoppers plan to comparison shop online to make sure they get the best bang for their buck, up from nearly 28 percent last year. More than 31 percent of school shoppers will compare prices online, compared with nearly 30 percent last year.

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