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INDIANAPOLIS – Hoosier families preparing for the start of class and heading out for back-to-school shopping soon will likely have a rude awakening when they get to the checkout line.

The National Retail Federation estimates that this could be the most expensive year yet, costing the average family $790. Parents who are shopping for college students may end up spending more than $1,000. The NRF believes that is because so many families are purchasing technology for e-learning rather than clothing and accessories.

“Don’t expect a tremendous amount of price discounting this year,” warned John Talbott, a professor with the Kelley School of Business. “The reality is that people are going to need what they need, and the stores are already struggling. I wouldn’t expect them to court customers by price reductions unless it’s on excess inventory.”

Consumers have already noticed, too, that stores are late in stocking their fall and winter items. Because they shut down in the spring, so many locations are still selling spring and summer inventory. Talbott said that might be OK, considering those who head back to classroom will likely do so while it is still warm outside.

Many central Indiana school districts have already issued their back-to-school lists. Parents are being asked to supply disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer, which are difficult to find. Because stores know there is a high demand of certain items, they will likely not be offering any deals this year.

“The essential items, you can expect to pay full price,” Talbott said. “I would say if you like something, buy it, because it’s probably going to be gone, particularly if it’s things like hand sanitizer, things like that.”