By Al Beeber
Southern Alberta Newspapers
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation says Albertans are saving big money on school supplies because the province doesn’t have a sales tax.
Lethbridge-based Alberta director of the CTF says families here are saving about $50 each because of the absence of a provincial sales tax.
“Inflation is making things much tougher to manage, but it’s still more affordable here because we don’t pay a provincial sales tax,” said Sims in a media release on Aug. 29.
The CTF says Canadian families will spend an average this year of $597 per student on back-to-school supplies.
That study by Deloitte Consulting LLP says inflation is expected to take a toll on back-to-school spending this year with some parents of kids in K-12 planning to postpone non-essential purchases.
The study says the overall back-to-school market is expected to decrease nationally by $31.2 billion with clothing spending down 14 per cent year over year while technology purchases are down 13 per cent in favour of school supplies.
The study says shoppers are prioritizing retailers with competitive prices, favouring mass merchants with 80 per cent of their purchases. Online retailers are second in popularity with shoppers.
Because of higher interest rates more families – a total of 72 per cent – are planning to buy with crash.
The study says parents are concerned about the impact of smartphones on their children’s mental health with 36 per cent believing those devices have complicated their kids’ lives. Only 26 per cent think artificial intelligence is a positive tool for students’ school work.
The survey says that 31 per cent of parents say their households are in a worse financial situation than in 2022.
“During the pandemic, the pull forward in back-to-school spending was to overcome concerns around stock-outs, but this year, we see consumers planning to economize throughout the back-to-school shopping journey. This cost consciousness is causing them to shop earlier, shop in-store to find the best price, and prioritize what they’ll purchase to start school. We expect a potentially strong season for brick-and-mortar, particularly among mass merchants who deliver a one-stop shopping experience,” Deloitte principal Brian McCarthy in the survey results.
Sims says if Alberta parents spend $350 per student on back-to-school supplies this year they are likely saving $18 million due to the absence of a seven per cent tax on items such as clothes, shoes, notebooks, lunch kits, laptop computers and backpacks.