It’s nearly back-to-school time, and maybe Chicago-based ShopperTrak needs to go back to coupon school.

As reported by Crain’s Chicago Business, the retail technology company says the “back-to-school outlook is rosy, unless you’re a coupon fanatic.”

The firm predicts national retail sales, and retail foot traffic, will increase this back-to-school season. “Parents will fill their carts with more pencils, supplies and back-to-school clothes” than last year, ShopperTrak predicts, and “retailers can expect shoppers to both buy more and visit more stores.”

All great news for retailers, but what about shoppers?


There might not be as many deals, ShopperTrak founder Bill Martin tells Crain’s. Back-to-school items will be “heavily marketed and heavily advertised, but I don’t know if it will be heavily couponed.”

Never mind that, with coupons and rebates, you can already get $125 worth of stuff from Staples this week (through Saturday, July 14th), and get paid a couple of bucks to take it all out of the store. Or that other stores’ back-to-school sales haven’t really even started yet. Or that printable coupons have begun to pop up for things like paper (click to print, using zip code 77001) and tape, scissors and Post-it notes (click to print, using zip code 77001).

Martin claims there’s been a “pendulum shift” toward retraining shoppers to buy at list price, instead of seeking out coupons. Just like J.C. Penney has done, Crain’s points out, in eliminating sales and coupons and just getting us to pay what they want us to pay.

Because we all know how well that’s worked out.

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