With back-to-school sales sluggish, Target gets a boost from school uniforms

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Public school enrollment is peaking, and a good number of the students are now required to wear school uniforms of some sort. It may be a drag for the kids, but it has brought smiles in the retail industry.

Reuters takes a look at how Target is faring under what is a sea-change in back-to-school shopping.

Though still just a tiny piece of the close to $27 billion dollar back-to-school market, retailers such as Wal-Mart, Target, Lands' End, and Old Navy are eager to compete for uniform sales and the additional traffic they bring to stores and websites during the second biggest selling season of the year, Reuters reports.

Target now carries uniforms in 800 of its 1,700 stores, including a "uniform destination" in about half of those participating stores, according to Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal. And a spokesman says the company is seeing a "particular uptick" in online sales, according to Reuters.

That has boosted prospects for uniform sales in the United States and made the category one of the few bright spots this back-to-school season when the National Retail Federation expects overall spending to fall 8 percent, says Reuters.

Almost half of U.S. public schools now have a formal dress code or uniforms compared with 21 percent in 2000, Reuters reports, according to a survey by Lands' End and the National Association of Elementary School Principals.

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