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Despite pandemic, retailers expect higher back-to-school sales for one reason

Published: Jul. 24, 2020 at 8:14 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - As you get ready for your kids to be back in class -- whether in-person or virtually -- it’s time to start getting their school supplies.

You may think because more kids will be learning from home, parents will spend less, but that may not be the case.

Families may not spend as much on things like clothes this school year, according to the National Retail Federation. But technology purchases are expected to be at the top of the shopping list.

This pandemic is expected to boost back-to-school sales and some parents are feeling the pressure even more.

For some parents, back-to-school shopping this year means digging a little deeper in their pockets

"We already have a computer, and we have a computer and we have to get her an iPad and all of that kind of electronic stuff," one parent said.

According to the National Retail Federation, school sales in 2019 were over $80 billion, but this year they are expecting that number to reach over $100 billion.

Jeff Carney, associate superintendent of Columbia County Schools, says schools will be providing laptops for those in need, but they are highly recommending parents to buy students their personal devices.

He says not only is it a sanitation issue, but there's a shortage on technology. Items they could normally get in one month are now delayed 150 days, which makes it easier for parents to go to stores and purchase them.

Richmond County has 30 percent of students currently enrolled in virtual learning. That number is 20 percent in Columbia County.

"A lot of those will check out a device," Carney said. "We have alot of devices being checked out, which means they are not going to be at school for other people to use."

Carney says he wants to make this semester run smoothly for both students and parents and recommends getting the cheapest supplies you can find.

"What you spend on a pair of sneakers you could get a Chromebook for," Carney said.

For children that will be doing virtual learning, the virtual open houses for students in Columbia County to get their schedule and meet their teachers will be next week. High schoolers can log in on Tuesday, middle school students on Wednesday, and elementary school students will be Thursday.

Copyright 2020 WRDW/WAGT. All rights reserved.

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