BMO Bank of Montreal

BMO Bank of Montreal

August 22, 2011 09:00 ET

REPEAT-BMO Study Shows Local Retailers Will Get a Back to School Boost

- Canadians plan to spend an average of $319 on back to school purchases

- Retail sales in Canada expected to grow at a moderate 2 per cent in August/September

- Only five per cent plan to shop online

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 22, 2011) - While economic concerns persist, Canadian retailers should expect to see a boost from back to school shoppers during the second busiest shopping season of the year. A new study from BMO Bank of Montreal released today shows that two thirds of Canadians plan to spend more or the same on back to school shopping compared to last year and nearly two in five (36 per cent) plan to do their shopping at local retailers.

"For many retail businesses, the back to school shopping season is the second most important sales period in the year," said Cathy Pin, Vice-President, BMO Commercial Banking. "It is also a great opportunity for shoppers to support their local businesses when buying the necessities to get the school year off on the right track."

According to the survey, conducted by Leger Marketing, one third of Canadians plan to spend more than $200 on back to school purchases this year, and on average, they plan to spend $319.

"Retails sales in Canada, excluding autos and gasoline, over the August and September period are expected to continue growing at a moderate rate of 2 per cent, similar to the pace this time last year," said Sal Guatieri, Senior Economist, BMO Capital Markets. "Continued low interest rates will provide support, though concerns about the global economy will also weigh on the back to school shopping season."

The survey also found:

  • Only five per cent plan to do their back to school shopping online
  • Those in the Atlantic Provinces are more likely (61 per cent) than those in B.C. (33 per cent) to shop at big box stores.
  • Consumers in Manitoba and Saskatchewan at 41 per cent are highest in Canada to cut their spending.
  • More consumers in Quebec plan to spend $500 or more than consumers in Ontario and Manitoba/Saskatchewan.

For students managing their own back to school spending, BMO offers a no-fee Student SPC MasterCard which includes both a free SPC membership, which provides 10 to 15 per cent discounts at hundreds of retailers across Canada, and the option of receiving AIR MILES reward miles or cash back loyalty rewards on their cards.

"If you're planning to spend significant dollars during the back to school season, maximize the bang for your buck by shopping at retailers who offer rewards or participate in loyalty programs, such as the AIR MILES Reward Program," added Ms. Pin. "For instance, if you shop with a BMO AIR MILES MasterCard you can double the number of reward miles you earn when you make purchases at participating AIR MILES Sponsors. It's a smart way to save while you spend."

BMO gives a breakdown of how much Canadians should expect to pay for some back to school items:

Category Approximate Total Cost
School Supplies
• Pens, pencils, lined paper, erasers, sticky notes, highlighters, notebooks, organizer and binders

$25 to $40
• Pair of jeans, 2 shirts, a sweater, pair of running shoes and 3 pairs of socks and undergarments

$210 to $260
• Backpack, pencil case and lunch bag

$35 to $50
• Magnets, lock, gym uniform and head phones

$25 to $40


$295 to $390
Additional Items - Technology:
• Calculator, laptop, printer and USB key (8GB)

$800 to $1200

The Leger Marketing survey was completed on-line from August 2nd to August 4th, 2011 with a sample of 1501 Canadians, 18 years of age or older. A probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of ±2.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

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