Back-to-school shoppers tardy

Mickey
Mickey Djuric
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With school starting in less than two weeks, local stores are finding there are not as many back-to-school shoppers as previous years.

Justin Mepham, sales associate at New Board Shop, helps back-to-school shoppers find trends that they're looking for. Times-Herald photo by Mickey Djuric 

"The back-to-school rush has been pushed back. Before it would always be busy by mid-August," said Brittan Calibaba, owner of New Board Shop. "Now it seems like you don't get shoppers until the end of August, early September."

He's not sure why in recent years shoppers have decided to shop later in the summer season, but it's a trend other stores are seeing as well.

"We're starting to see more shoppers this past week, but once next week hits we're expecting more," said Brittany Mckechnie, manager at Guys and Dawls. 

Despite the late shoppers, store owners are confident they'll come out of hiding soon and hit the racks in search for the latest trends. 

"Lots of people wear so much stuff through summer that they wear out the look or outgrow their clothes. So they come in and need new layers," said Calibaba. 

Dalton Hansen is one of those shoppers who is on the look out for something new and fresh.

"I like back-to-school shopping a lot because I get new clothes. This year I've seen a lot of snapbacks and beanies. They seem to be popular," said Hansen.

His mother, however, feels the pinch of back-to-school shopping and doesn't share the same excitement as her son. 

"Yes it's definitely expensive," said Julie Hansen. "And everything has to be name brands."

But she's not the only parent who feels the pressure of back to school shopping. According to a recent study done by an online Canadian coupon company, RetailMeNot.ca, 78 per cent of Canadians believe school shopping has become increasingly expensive, and being on a budget is parents top priority. 

That's why many local shops have back-to-school sales, to help accommodate their clientele, all while making room for new stock. 

Guys and Dawls is offering a buy one, get one 50 per cent off sale, while Clothes Encounters has summer clothes 50 per cent off, and the New Board Shop has their shorts and tanks at 30 per cent off and some t-shirts marked down by 50 per cent. 

But back-to-school shopping is not just about getting the best deals, it's about scoring some of the coolest trends.

"Plaid is coming back, and black and white layers is also popular," said Mckechnie. "Patterned leggings are also big. There's also animal print on everything."

As for guys? 

"For summer, Hawaiian shirts and short shorts for guys are pretty hot," said Calibaba. "For fall? Lots of nice fitted denim and jogger pants. The street wear dudes are super into it. Also you can never go wrong with a nice hoodie and toque." 

*** 

RetailMeNot.ca, an online Canadian coupon company, surveyed Canadian parents of 5 to 18 year-olds about back-to-school shopping. This is what they found: 

-Majority of Canadians will spend over $200 on their child, with 12 per cent of people surveyed admitting to spending more than $400 for their child. 

-53 per cent will spend most back-to-school shopping on clothes.

-58 per cent of Canadians admitted that other parents influence what they buy for back-to-school shopping.  

-82 per cent believe a child's peers influence their purchasing decisions.  

-Maybe shopping with dad is best because 23 per cent of fathers will buy their 12 to 14 year-old a laptop, while 36 per cent of moms will hold out until the child is at least 15. 

It's not just parents who are feeling the pinch, but university students are too. According to the 2014 BMO Back to School Survey, secondary students plan to spend an average of $1,121 on back-to-school purchases, including textbooks, supplies, clothing, and technology.

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