There have been mixed forecasts for this year’s

back-to-school shopping, with some predictions of higher

spending, while others are saying that parents are backing

off after heavy post-recession spending last year. The latest

report from a special ICSC-Goldman Sachs consumer

tracking survey is in the “more spending” column.

The survey conducted by Opinion Research

Corporation for the shopping center trade association,

ICSC, and Wall Street investment bank

Goldman Sachs, from July 12-15 found that

29% of households had already begun back-

to-school shopping. That’s below the mark of

33% at the same time in 2012. But two-thirds of

households say they will do most of their back-

to-school shopping in August.

The average household expenditure on all

types of back-to-school items is expected to be

about $285 this year, which is an increase over

last year for 39% of those surveyed. 45% plan

to spend the same amount as last year, while

only 17% indicated they would spend less. Of

the 42% of consumers that plan to increase

spending, nearly three-fifths indicated that the bulk of their

shopping will be to replace wardrobes and school supplies.

One notable change is that 90% of the people surveyed

plan to do at least some of their back-to-school shopping

at discount stores, up from 83% last year. That was

followed by 44% heading to office supply stores and 41%

traditional department stores.