Becky Graftstrom knows this drill all too well.
“I'd much rather be at the beach,” said the Marysville mother of three. “Instead, I'm here shopping with the kids.”
It’s back-to-school shopping day for her two girls.
“Shopping is the best part of going back to school,” said Graftstrom’s 11-year-old daughter, Meghan. “It's fun to get new clothes.”
The family will likely spend at least $500 on clothes and supplies for the two daughters, Meghan and Emily. That day was likely just round one for the Grafstrom girls, who were just getting the basics. The rest is yet to come, after they see what their friends are wearing.
“I know them. They're girls,” said Grafstrom. “They'll go back to school and say ‘I want that!’”
It’s part of a loosely knit strategy now being employed by families across the country -- delaying the purchase of school clothes, and even backpacks and other supplies, because kids are waiting to see what the trendsetters at school are sporting.
Graftstrom’s daughters said they try not to get hung up on what others are wearing, but she said she doesn’t blame them for wanting to look as nice as their friends.
“Well, I'm a girl, too. I'm guilty as charged,” said Graftstrom.
That trepidation over trendiness combined with warm weather and a cool economy are keeping back to school sales down across the country. The National Retail Federation said less than 10 percent of families have had completed their back-to-school shopping, the lowest figure in four years.
Analysts say retailers are worried that kids won’t return to the stores to buy all those trendy new items. The back to school shopping season is the second biggest of the year, behind Christmas.
Those fears could be founded if the Grafstrom girls, and other like them across the country, decide to buck the trends this fall and wait it out even longer.
“If we can’t afford it, I can always tell them to just put it on their Christmas list,” said Graftstrom.