Although retailers continued to slash prices on seasonal merchandise, June sales were once again a disappointment for retailers, decreasing 3.8% unadjusted over the last year, according to the National Retail Federation. Forecasts for back to school are not looking good either. The average family with students in grades K-12 is expected to spend $548.72 on school merchandise, a decline of 7.7 percent from $594.24 in 2008, according to the National Retail Federation’s 2009 Back to School Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted by BIGresearch. “Back to school is always a pretty good barometer for retail health and for what the fall is going to look like, and this year I don’t think it’s going to be any different,” says George Whalin, Founder, Retail Management Consultants. “I think parents are going to be very cautious on what they spend money on. They’re going to buy the least expensive things they can get away with, but people are always going to spend more on their children than they do on themselves.” The survey found that over half (56.2%) of respondents are hunting for sales more often, while 40% plan to increase their coupon usage.