Consumers continue cautious behavior

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Consumers continue to behave cautiously when it comes to spending – even on necessities – with more saying they’ve held out for promotions and discounts when shopping for school supplies.

A National Retail Federation report indicated 17 percent of families with school-age children said 100 percent of their purchases were influenced by bargains and coupons, up from 14 percent last year.

Shoppers took advantage of retailers’ aggressive back-to-school promotions during July. The U.S. Commerce Department reported sales jumped 5.4 percent year-over-year and rose 0.4 percent, seasonally adjusted, compared to June.

The NRF also said U.S. families would spend 8.3 percent more during the back-to-school time frame than they did last year, but cautioned investors not to read too much into the improved figures, saying retailers are proceeding with caution until a clear positive trend develops.