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Back-to-school spending results

Back-to-school spending this August was higher than last year for credit union members.

A new school year has just begun, which means every parent out there has spent the past month preparing to send their child back to school and buying school supplies, new wardrobes and various other back-to-school necessities.

According to Deloitte's 2014 Back-to-School Survey conducted between July 5 and 10, parents expected to spend an average of $370 this season. This is less than the last two years, and it may be because of higher food prices, increased energy costs, mounting medical bills and personal debt and taxes. These were the top five budget concerns for parents who were headed into back-to-school shopping.

Deloitte measured what parents thought they'd spend this season but CO-OP Financial Services found back-to-school spending for credit union members increased 9.2 percent across 25 merchant types this August compared to the same time last year. Last month, back-to-school spending reached $715.2 million compared to $654.9 million in August last year. There were also 14.1 million transactions recorded this August compared to 13.067 million transactions in August 2013.

The amount the average member spent only rose 1 percent this August from the same month last year, but the number of members out there shopping rose, which accounts for the overall increased transaction and spending figures. 

Where parents were shopping
The busiest stores were the ones selling computer software, elementary and secondary school supplies and bookstores. Computer software merchants had the biggest sales increase this August with spending up 44.3 percent. Stores selling elementary and secondary school supplies increased spending 29.3 percent, and bookstores saw spending rise 20.1 percent this August compared to last.

Department and stationery stores were the only merchants with reduced transaction volumes and sales this year compared to last.