Priced out on school supplies

Back-to-school shopping used to be fun, and then 30-year high inflation happened. 

Driving the news: According to a recent poll, one-third of Canadian parents are spending more on back to school than last year, and nearly all say inflation is impacting their spending. 

  • Deloitte’s national retail leader said parents are spending $500-$600 (on average) on supplies, clothing, and electronics, after cutting back for two pandemic school years. 

Why it matters: Back-to-school shopping trends are a good indicator of how well (on not well) the economy is doing and are a precursor to big spending events like the holidays. 

Last week, BC announced it’s investing almost $64 million across its 60 school districts towards meal programs, school supplies and field trip fees to help families with rising costs. 

  • Corporate Canada is stepping in too. Staples lowered prices on 50 top-selling items last month, and Walmart introduced price “rollbacks” on its back-to-school items. 

Big picture: Stronger supply chains mean there’s no shortage of goods, but high prices mean Canada’s 5.7 million elementary and high school students might need extra support.