PORTLAND -- With just about a month and half until the school bell rings, retailers are pulling out all the stops to get consumers into the stores for those must-have back-to-school supplies.

But some spending isn't adding up to what it was last year. A report out by the National Retail Federation, which tracks consumer spending, predicts back-to-school spending will drop 8 percent over last year.

In the past, stores like Target and Fred Meyer get back-to-school merchandise out right after July 4.

Sales are driving many shoppers this year. Others are deciding to re-use supplies from last year and many skipped brand names for store-branded items.

More consumers are also doing online comparison shopping. Total back-to-school spending is expected to reach $26.7 billion.

When you add in back-to-college spending it will reach $72.5 billion.

[I m] looking for bargains, looking for things that are cheaper now than after fall where binders are $8 to $9 a piece, compared to a few dollars, said Hillary Gibbons of Tigard.

Despite a nationwide drop in spending, Target and Fred Meyer both report good foot traffic and steady sales.

This year, 24 percent of families started shopping earlier, which is the highest amount in 11 years since the national retail federation starting keep track.

KGW Business Reporter Joe Smith contributed to this report.

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