As August winds down, a mounting gloom begins to infect many school-age children as they realize that the lazy days of summer are coming to an end, and soon they will be back in school. For parents, there is both joy and sadness with this change of season. The joy is that the kids will be out of the house and in school. However, that joy is tempered with the fact that they will have to shell out anywhere from $285 to $635 to properly attire and equip their children for school, according to two surveys conducted by the National Retail Federation and International Council of Shopping Centers. For retailers, this is a little taste of Christmas in August. To lessen the financial impact on many families, seventeen states offer some sort of holiday from sales tax during August on clothing and school supplies.
These numbers are slightly down from last year, but still represent s a substantial amount of spending by consumers in a short period. For Maryland retailers, this translates into an additional $600 million to $1.3 billion in spending in August over what households would normally spend. To ensure that households spend all their back-to-school funds in one place, many retailers are advertising that they are a one-stop shop for everything related to going back to school and that they have the lowest prices.
So what does this “dog days of summer” spending translate into for Maryland’s economy? For every one million dollars spent on retail goods, nearly 22 jobs are supported, from direct jobs at the retail establishments to indirect and induced jobs at logistic firms, supermarkets, and other businesses. So, while many school-age children are bemoaning that the last weeks of summer vacation are whipping by like the Grand Prix racers in Baltimore, retailers are relishing the back-to-school season.