Despite deep discounts, back-to-school shoppers stick to basics

Consumers kept a tight hand on the purse strings as they did their back-to-school shopping in August, according to new reports. Sales rose slightly over the same month last year, but fell far short of 2008 spending levels, according to MasterCard Advisors. Sluggish sales had some retailers resorting to deep discounting, which is likely to cut into profits, Women's Wear Daily reports, and the lackluster August results are spurring concern about prospects for the upcoming holiday season.

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