(CNN) - Kids may not be ready for back-to-school season, but retailers are. The second-biggest retail season of the year is about to kick into high gear.
During summer's hot days, retailers want consumers to think fall and back to school shopping.
Some retailers have already stocked shelves for the season. They expect to ring up more than $68 billion in sales this year.
With the economy still being shaky, the National Retail Federation (NRF) expects families to spend, but spend carefully.
"Retailers know that even though the recession is over, it's still fresh on the minds of American families," said Ellen Davis with the NRF.
The NRF annual survey expects back to school spending to be flat compared to last year, with the average family of grade school children spending about $603 on clothes, shoes, school supplies and electronics, which is slightly less than the $606 they spend in 2010.
Families with college-age students will spend $808 on back to campus needs, down from $835 last year.
Retailers are planning to showcase items where cautious consumers can get greater bang for their buck.
"This year's theme for back to school is not necessarily finding the best price, it's about finding the best value, and so you're going to see a lot of retailers talking about quality merchandise, or being able to have an extended warranty on something, in addition to good prices," Davis said.
Sales will start early to get shoppers in the store, and consumers should keep an eye on social media for discounts.
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