Sales at U.S. department stores are forecast to jump more than 25% from the mid-July through early-September period compared to a year ago, according to Mastercard Inc SpendingPulse data. They're even expected to rise nearly 10% over the pre-health crisis season of 2019.
Back-to-school is the second-most important shopping season after the holiday period.
This year, with increased vaccinations, Americans are now more confident about venturing out and shopping after being holed up for a year indoors. They've got more money to spend, thanks to stimulus checks and record savings.
Consumers will be refreshing their wardrobes after they and their kids mostly wore casual clothing as they worked and studied from home. Apparel sales are expected to shoot up 78%.
Even though they spent a lot on computers and mobile devices during the health crisis, electronics sales are still projected to rise 13%.
But as consumers flock to departments stores and malls, Mastercard predicts e-commerce sales will ease, dropping more than 6% from last year when people mostly shopped online.