Back-to-school shopping: Retailers already stocking shelves with school-related items

Students won’t return to school in Palm Beach County for another five weeks, but retailers are already lining store shelves with back-to-school items in hopes of catching early-bird shoppers.

The Fourth of July holiday marks the unofficial start of the back-to-school shopping season, as big box retailers mark down summer items like patio sets and backyard supplies to make room for pencils, paper and other school-related items.

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Back-to-school is the retail industry’s second biggest shopping season of the year, falling behind Black Friday and holiday shopping rush.

Parents of K-12 and college students are expected to spend more than $121.6 billion in this year, according to MediaMath, a programmatic ad tech company for marketers.

(Photo by Taylor Jones/The Palm Beach Post).  School supplies Indiantown Community Outreach will give away during the 5th annual Back to School Bash.

Spending on back-to-school items starts ramping up right after the Fourth of July holiday, peaking between late July and mid-August, according to a MediaMath study.

Back-to-school related sales are expected to grow by 4 percent this year, according to eMarketer, a market research firm.

Workers at the Target on Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard spent part of the Fourth of July clearing out a corner of the store to make way for school supplies. Patio items were marked down as much as 70 percent to make room for the back-to-school rush.

Florida’s popular back-to-school sales tax holiday will return next month. The holiday, which runs Aug. 4-6, is worth an estimated $33.4 million.

During the three-day weekend, shoppers won’t be charged the state’s 6 percent sales tax or the county’s discretionary sales surtax on certain school-related and other specified items.

The annual tax break this year includes clothing, footwear and certain accessories selling for $60 or less; certain school supplies selling for $15 or less per item; and personal computers and certain computer-related accessories, selling for $750 or less per item, when purchased for noncommercial home or personal use.