National Retail Federation expecting record ‘back to school’ sales despite growing at-home learning requirements


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – It’s tax-free weekend in Tennessee, which means you can save some serious cash on school supplies.

But since a lot of kids will be learning from home, what kinds of materials are families buying to prepare? 

“We got hand sanitizer, we got all the stuff. Pencils, paper, whatever he needed,” said Pam Bissinger while shopping for her grandson at a Nashville Walmart.

But other families don’t have as much to shop for.

“This year my son is going into second grade and we’re doing distance learning because he has asthma. I’m afraid to send him back to the classroom in Rutherford County, so we’re not buying supplies for him,” said Cindy Watts.

While some kids won’t need the normal amount of pens and paper this year, The National Retail Federation estimates that consumers will still spend a combined record total of about 101 billion dollars on back to school and back to college shopping.

That number up from about 80 billion spent last year. 

SOURCE: National Retail Federation
SOURCE: National Retail Federation

The NRF says the large spending increase is mostly due to online learning requirements.

The graph below shows the top items they say families plan to buy specifically for “E-learning” (laptops, speakers, desks, printers, tablets, calculators).

(SOURCE: National Retail Federation)
SOURCE: National Retail Federation

Tennessee’s tax-free weekend ends Sunday at 11:59 PM and includes school supplies, clothes, and computers and electronics.

There are some restrictions during tax free weekend.

Clothes and school supplies over $200 per item are not tax exempt. Nor are electronics priced over $3000. For more specific guidelines, click here.

SOURCE: Walmart (back to school shopping and supplies)

News 2 digs deeper into how schools are moving forward safely for the new academic year. See how other districts around Middle Tennessee are handling everything from classroom concerns to the future of sports in our special series. Click here to see more.

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