As U.S. retailers prepare for Back-to-school, they face challenges including higher production costs and sky-high shipping rates. Additionally, they are also inconvenienced by cargo delays from China and other Asian countries. They are expecting to see the industry’s second-biggest selling season.
Also anticipated to boost sales are the Biden administration’s stimulus checks and advance child tax credits. The National Retail Federation estimates total back-to-school spending to jump 6.4% to $108.1 billion this year. For all age groups, average spending is expected to be $2,049, or 10.8% higher.
At a recent conference, Macey’s Chief Financial Officer Adrian Mitchell said that they believe it’s better to potentially lose a sale due to the lack of supply than to over buy and have markdown merchandise at higher rates.
Brett Rose, chief executive officer at United National Consumer Suppliers (UNCS), said they are still moving backpacks and crayons. The UNCS is a wholesale distributor whose retail clients include Walmart Sam’s Club, Amazon and Five Below. The CEO also said that he is usually finished bringing such products in by May or June, at the latest.
Data firm StyleSage said that Target has started putting out backpacks much earlier this year around the end of May. That’s about a month or more earlier than usual.
The AAP Recommends Strict Mask Policies
While U.S. retailers scramble to stock shelves as students head back to school, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released its guidance for all kids and school staff. That is to wear masks when returning to in-person learning in the fall. Their recommendation is stricter than the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), which allows vaccinated students and staff to forgo the wearing of face masks indoors.
The Association advises students going back to in-person learning in the fall, kids above the age of 2, and school staff to wear a mask. That is unless they have medical conditions that prevent them from doing so.
The AAP said children under the age of 12 are not yet eligible for vaccination. That is the main reason for this guidance. That is why the universal mask recommendation would keep the Covid-19 virus, along with other respiratory viruses, from spreading and preventing children from attending class, the Association said.
Furthermore, the AAP said that this would make it easier for schools that may not have the resources to monitor and enforce mask policies for students that are not yet vaccinated.