Survey: Back-to-school spending flat

The second biggest retail event of the year is here – back-to-school spending. K-12 and college spending is expected to reach $68.8 billion a year, the National Retail Federation reported Thursday.

Only the Thanksgiving-Christmas holiday season generates more retail revenue.

Back-to-school spending per family will be flat, according NRF’s 2011 Back-to-School survey.
The average family with K-12 kids will spend $603.63 on school supplies, electronics and clothes, according to the survey.

How much will you spend?

Last year average spending was a fraction higher at $606.40. The sluggish economy has most parents looking for bargains, according to the survey

“Families aren’t opposed to spending on what they need, but parents want their children to take a good look around at what they already have before deciding what to buy for back to school this year,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in a press release.

“Retailers understand consumers are extremely focused on value and are taking this opportunity to offer substantial savings on merchandise.”

Complete NRF survey

CNBC video: NRC CEO Matthew Shay talks about retail trends