Augusta Economy

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Spending rises among upper-income teens

Affluent lead the way in return to stores

Friday, April 13, 2012 6:07 PM
Last updated Saturday, April 14, 2012 1:49 AM
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Lakeside High School students Ali Shel­nut and Madison White say they love to shop.

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Ali Shelnut (left) and Madison White shop at SOHO Boutique at Surrey Center in Augusta. Among upper-income teens, fashion spending accounted for 38 percent of their budgets, up 1 percent from spring 2011.  EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
Ali Shelnut (left) and Madison White shop at SOHO Boutique at Surrey Center in Augusta. Among upper-income teens, fashion spending accounted for 38 percent of their budgets, up 1 percent from spring 2011.

On Thursday after school, they could be found making purchases at Soho in Surrey Center. Ali, 16, said she loves buying jewelry and dresses.

“I just like clothes. I have a bank account, and I do use my mom’s money sometimes, but sometimes I use my money,” said Ali, who saves money from birthdays and holidays.

They could be part of a returning affluent teen market. According to the 22nd semiannual Taking Stock With Teens survey by Piper Jaffray, spending by teenagers has improved at the upper-income level, though it shows continued weakness for average-income teens. Among upper-income teens, fashion spending accounted for 38 percent of their budgets, up 1 percent from spring 2011.

Teen spending on food and restaurants was near the highest level since early 2000, with upper-income teens increasing weekly restaurant spending by 2 percent. Portable device spending continues to accelerate, with 83 percent of teens reporting they were likely to purchase a smartphone for their next device.

Teens preferred value-priced merchandise at all income levels, but not necessarily the lowest cost.

Madison, 16, said her mother gives her money for shopping. She doesn’t have a bank account, so she pays in cash. She has been spending more as she gets older because she wants to keep up with trends.

“You’ve got to stay in style,” she said.

Their favorite stores are Dillard’s, Soho, Village, Forever 21 and Francesca’s Collec­tions in Columbia.

Sears at Augusta Mall has seen an increase in teen spending, said store manager Stanley Wilson.

He wasn’t allowed to give exact figures, but he said higher-end merchandise such as the Kardashian Kollection have become popular.

“I’m having good sales in my juniors department,” Wilson said. “Some of our premium lines, we are noticing increased sales, which is unusual. Teenagers are coming in buying some of the higher-end electronics typically purchased by major breadwinners.”

Teens are buying LCD and plasma TVs and iPod accessories, he said.

Leigh McCormick, a buyer and sales associate at Soho, said teen spending remains consistent but that more teens are coming in shopping by themselves.

“They’re definitely having a lot more independence. They’re using their own debit cards. They’re not having their parents right behind them paying for it,” she said. “A lot of the parents are giving their
daughters a wardrobe allowance and making them more responsible for their clothes buying.”

Also, more teenagers are working and “want to buy cute things,” she said.

Josh Perkins, the director of retail operations at PeachMac, said the iPod Touch is the most popular item among teens. They are also buying entry-level iPads.

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Just My Opinion
5884
Points
Just My Opinion 04/13/12 - 08:21 pm
4
0
Oh, come on. Who will read

Oh, come on. Who will read this and REALLY believe that the money these children are spending is their own?? Debit cards?? That is for the benefit of the parent, who is constantly having to fill the kid's hand as it's poking out at them! If a kid is actually working for his own money, then he can spend it...but only for as long as mommy and daddy are willing to support their spending habits. Making your own money? Then YOU can pay for the gas..or the insurance..or the maintenance...or all of it!..........DANG!!! I'm starting to sound just like my father!!

raul
5332
Points
raul 04/14/12 - 10:35 am
3
0
FHMWA- Future High

FHMWA- Future High Maintenance Women of America.

christyanne76
44
Points
christyanne76 04/14/12 - 11:01 am
2
0
I believe it may be their

I believe it may be their own. My oldest son has worked two jobs ever since he was 17...he pays for his phone bill, his clothes, food...everything for HIMSELF. My other two children have their own bank accounts and debit cards...and they EARN their own money. They aren't old enough to work, but they have a set of "jobs" that they are paid a set amount of money for. They put it in their bank account and BUDGET what they want to spend it on. It teaches them a little thing called responsibility and budgeting. I see not a thing wrong with that!

Patty-P
3516
Points
Patty-P 04/14/12 - 11:27 am
1
0
I don't see the big fuss if

I don't see the big fuss if the kids are just spending their parents money. I think it'd be a great story about teens who were working hard, making their OWN money, and budgeting to have the things they want.

Just My Opinion
5884
Points
Just My Opinion 04/14/12 - 12:11 pm
1
0
christy, you sound like

christy, you sound like you're raising your kids to learn responsibility and budgeting and no, there is nothing wrong with that. But I have worked with tons of kids who do not work, and still spend, spend, spend their parents money. Now, on the other hand, I do think it's important that the kids see their main job as school, so I'm not against parents giving their kids money for some items. But, "keeping up with style" costs money and the well-meaning parents aren't really doing their kids any favors in the long run. More parents need to take your lead and help the kids help themselves.

ForeverFrog
1
Points
ForeverFrog 04/14/12 - 03:24 pm
1
1
“You’ve got to stay in

“You’ve got to stay in style,” she said.

They probably got that from their mommy. Yeah, sure, they're spending "their" money. LOL

fatboyhog
2025
Points
fatboyhog 04/14/12 - 06:56 pm
2
0
“You’ve got to stay in

“You’ve got to stay in style,” she said.

Blue jeans and t-shirts are always in style, right? I hope so, because that's been my style since I graduated from high school back in the day.

whyme
2002
Points
whyme 04/15/12 - 03:59 pm
1
0
Not much has changed-these

Not much has changed-these kids in the article and many like them are encouraged by their parents to keep up appearances, wear high-end items from our hometown shopping centers (not the mall) that have the exclusive shops, and take classes to learn social graces, all because that's what Augustans with a good up-bringing are supposed to do. At least that is what I was told when I moved here and since I didn't follow those rules, is my child worse off because of it? Not in the least. Should I begrudge these folks for spending their money the way that they please? No, as long as you don't look down at those of us who can't afford to live as you. And that's where the problem lies. On the other hand, is this something new for our area or even for our culture? Absolutely not. I experienced the same thing growing up as being one of the have-nots but in actuality I had more than enough: genuine love, faith in God, parents who were hard-working and gave of themselves so we had the basics while doing without themselves, and the encouragement that we didn't need to be like everyone else to be our best. I'm passing that on to my child and hope others will too.

maddyxowhite
0
Points
maddyxowhite 04/17/12 - 09:11 pm
0
0
Forever Frog : sorry im a

Forever Frog : sorry im a princess and get what i want. If you have a problem with it contact my dadddy!

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