Back-to-school shopping met with restraint

With the state economy in the doldrums, many are asking if back-to-school shopping will be the boom for retailers that it has traditionally been.

July retail reports reflected that shoppers are spending less. Gas prices, the rising cost of food and other expenses have made many skittish about forking over money. Bigger discount chain stores are reporting steady gains, but many shoppers in New Jersey plan to stick with what they know.

"I am still going to my main stores, still hoping for better deals," says one parent. "I'd rather get quality than have to just go back to the discounted stores and purchase even more."

Many parents are turning to coupons and other discounts to buy school clothes for their children. With many retailers offering deals to lure shoppers back, experts suggest shoppers keep close tabs on circulars and subscribe to various e-mail coupon lists.

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