Last year’s backpack: Tapped out families are struggling to pay for back to school purchases

(CNN) — Shopping for back-to-school essentials is becoming a real struggle for families whose household budgets are stretched to the max by surging inflation.

Mid-July is typically when shopping for necessities such as clothes, shoes, backpacks, classroom supplies and gadgets for the new school year gets underway in earnest.

But as high inflation takes a bigger bite out of budgets, many households are scrambling to afford these annual purchases for their children.

“For this back to school season, we’re going to see price take the priority over brand,” said Kathy Gramling, head of Americas consumer markets with EY. “Brand

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