Photograph by Andrew B. Myers
The only thing standing between a recovery and a double-dip recession might be the back-to-school season.
As August turns to September, some 56 million K-12 students are starting a school year like no other. Most students will be learning from home; others will be back in school full time; and still others will experience a hybrid model that combines the two. The risks to reopening schools are clear—they could become a new epicenter for Covid-19 —but the costs of keeping schools closed could be even higher.
... In 2019, back-to-school spending totaled $26.2 billion, according to the National Retail Federation. A survey conducted by retail predictive analytics company First Insight suggests that those sales figures could be sharply lower this year, as 52% of parents aren’t making back-to-school purchases and 22% plan to buy fewer items than normal. Retailers are bracing for a 20% decline in back-to-school sales year over year, says Cowen analyst Oliver Chen.