Money MattersDont Waste Your Money


Shortages, higher prices greet back-to-school shoppers

Fewer 1-cent notebooks and crayons this year
Mark your calendars for back-to-school tax-free shopping days in these states
Posted at 3:56 PM, Aug 03, 2021

Parents, start your engines. It's back-to-school shopping season — and product shortages, which have affected everything from furniture to chicken wings, are hitting school supplies.

Samantha Allen was glad to see some normalcy for her two elementary-aged after a long pandemic winter, but she found things a little different this year at her Walmart.

Walmart, Target, and many stores are coping with supply shortages.

On the day Allen visited, that meant a lack of character backpacks. There were no Disney backpacks to be found in the store.

Walmart's Randi Wood said they are trying to stock the shelves and keep prices low despite rising wholesale costs.

"You see all the red tags," she said. "Those are all our price rollbacks."

Clothing sales taking off

Wood says the biggest change this year is a resurgence of clothing sales after a year many children spent learning at home in pajamas.

"Kids are coming back into school now," she said. "Last year they were remote learning, learning from home. So we have a big push on apparel, so those kids are ready to go back to school."

She said girls should be thrilled to find Justice clothing in Walmart now, now that Justice stores have closed in malls.

Assistant manager Matt Goans said despite a few shortages, including some popular clothing sizes and gym shoes, they are expecting a big rebound in sales this year.

"Last year was very very slow because most schools were remote, so sales were very soft," he said. "This year we are preparing for a bigger back-to-school (season)."

One thing you may not see as much this year, however, are those promotions for things like 10-cent crayons and 1-cent spiral notebooks.

The National Retail Federation says supplies are tight, and stores can't afford to give too much away.

So don't wait too long to do that school shopping, so you don't waste your money.

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