COVID-19 reshapes and reduces back-to-school spending

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NEW YORK (AP) — As the pandemic drags into the new school year, it is upending the back-to-school shopping season. That’s the second most important period for retailers behind the holidays.

Parents are buying less dressy clothing and more basics for their kids, while stepping up purchases of masks and other protective equipment as well as electronics. They’re also holding back on spending amid uncertainty about what the school year will look like.

The National Retail Federation is pinning its hopes on parents who splurge on pricey items like computers to help children learn from home. But others foresee a weak season for retailers.

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