Back-to-school shopping used to be a big end-of-summer ritual for families.  But these days, most families wait to do their back-to-school shopping until after school starts! 

And on the first day of school, kids would show up in their best new outfits, even if their new clothes were wool, and it was 100-degrees out. But these days, most families wait to do their back-to-school shopping until after school starts! 

Why? To save money, people are putting off buying until they absolutely have to, but it’s about more than money - it’s about fitting in. Today’s kids are afraid to show up with their new Fall clothes, only to find out that everyone else has something different, and they don’t fit in. They’d rather wait to see what clothes, shoes, and backpacks the school fashionistas have, and get the same stuff. 

Another reason back-to-school shopping has been mega-slow this year: The unusually hot weather, because nobody wanted to shop for cold-weather items, like sweaters and down vests.

And the shopping slow-down is hitting stores hard. The holidays are when stores make most of their profits, but the second-largest spike is back-to-school sales. And a lot of their school stuff has been gathering dust on the shelves for more than 2 months. 

Even worse, back-to-school trends impact what stores stock for the holidays. So now, stores don’t know what’s popular, or what to order for the rest of the year. 

Still, plenty of stores are trying to cope on the fly. For example, Old Navy, American Eagle and J.C. Penney are hoping to attract later-shoppers, so, they held back some new back-to-school styles for a mid-September rollout. 

And now that sales are picking up, experts say that the most popular items right now include: Printed denim, colored jeans, pleated skirts, and anything that has polka dots or flowers on it.