School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Spending jumps during back-to-college season

Spending jumps during back-to-college season

At the Target in Baltimore's Mondawmin Mall, megaphone-shaped "college" signs hang over aisles stocked with must-haves for students living on their own, such as mini-refrigerators, desk lamps and six-packs of ramen noodles.

"Back to College" is a well-stocked department at Target and many other stores this time of year. It's no wonder.

The college market represents the biggest chunk of back-to-school shopping, which itself is the second-biggest season for retailers after the holiday season.

"College is a much bigger piece of the pie in terms of … school shoppers," said Kathy Grannis, a spokeswoman for the National Retail Federation....