09/01/09 — School supplies sales are on target

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School supplies sales are on target

By Laura Collins
Published in News on September 1, 2009 1:46 PM

Back-to-school shopping can be more like a scavenger hunt for some parents.

Nancy Branch, mother of a sixth-grader, was still finishing up school supply shopping Wednesday evening. She had already been to two places looking for binders.

"It's hard to find a good time to come out," she said. "Sometimes if you wait until after school starts, things are much more discounted, but there's also the chance they might be sold out."

Another mother, Elaine Perry, said she started early with back-to-school shopping, but still had a few more items to get Wednesday, a day after school started.

"You know, I tried to beat the rush, shopping early in the morning well before the start of the school year, but here I am about to pick through the leftovers to find some more folders," she said.

Mrs. Perry said it can be frustrating for parents when teachers change the school supply lists after school has already started.

"It's only one or two things, but I still would have rather had all of this done by now," she said. "And since when do the parents buy Kleenex for the teachers' classrooms? That seems like a new one."

With the majority of the school supply rush over, area stores are reporting a good turnout this year.

Gary Carter, general manager at Staples, said the store's "one cent sale" really kicked the season off.

"Everyone likes to shop early," he said. "We had the one cent ads in the paper and those did absolutely tremendous. We call it our Christmas in August around here. It's absolutely amazing for us, and we have a great time."

Carter said graphing calculators were one of the highest-selling items, along with the traditional notebooks and pens.

"We are still pretty well in stock right now and might be one of the only guys that still has filler paper," he added.

At Kmart, Bernice Gorum, hardlines manager, said the store "sold through just about everything."

"Most of the rush is over now, but we still have a few people trickling in," she said. "The crowds were a little bit less than last year, but a lot of people shopped early in the season just trying to prepare."

Mrs. Gorum said although there seemed to be fewer people shopping, she estimated the store's "sale through" as 80 percent better than last year. Sale through is based on what is leftover after the school supply rush is over.

Popular items at Kmart were binders, which sold out quickly, and loose leaf paper. The store also sold a large number of khaki pants and plain polo-style shirts.