Wednesday, August 18, 2010

How to Save on School Supplies

The results are pretty dramatic: The same 20 items on a typical back to school list cost about $27.20 at an independent discount/”dollar” store, and three times as much -- $83.44 -- at a major drug store. Big-box stores Target and Wal-Mart came in at $31.64 and $36.70, respectively and Staples charged $66.72.

Both the independent and chain dollar stores (Family Dollar, Dollar General and Dollar Tree) have grown aggressively in the last decade, adding thousands of stores nationwide between 2001 and mid-2009, according to a study by The Nielsen Company. Nielsen found households earning $100,000 or above spent 18 percent more in the dollar channel in the second half of 2008 compared to the year-earlier period. That was a bigger gain than big-box discounters or warehouse clubs.

“There’s no question that the dollar stores are getting more and more shoppers every day,” says Britt Beemer, CEO of America’s Research Group. “When they added more food products to the stores, they really established value with consumers. They sell bread for $1 a loaf, and at the grocery store it’s $1.89 or $2.59. The dollar stores made a stronger value proposition as they added groceries, because people know the value of things they buy most often. Because they attract so many shoppers every week, manufacturers can no longer ignore the channel.”

“For school supplies, go to dollar stores first and then wait as far until the end of the season as you can, because obviously what they can’t sell they will mark down more,” says Beemer. The other advantage to dollar stores: If your child wants notebooks and folders with colorful patterns and designs, you’ll find the best prices on those items here.

Source: Yahoo Finance

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