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Back-to-school shopping in '73

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It's going to cost a little bit more to send Karen and Kevin back to school in 1973. Shortages in wool and limited supplies of synthetics have driven up the price of new clothes in Canada, and that has bargain-minded mothers on the prowl for deals. But what do the kids want? Dresses are becoming more popular for girls, along with pantsuits and slacks. "A boy can dress as far out or as conservatively as he likes," host Norman DePoe notes in this CBC-TV report, adding that for both sexes, plain blue denim will outsell everything else.
• In this TV report, host Norman DePoe refers to elevated clothing prices in the United States due to "Nixonomics." Imposed by then-president Richard Nixon, this was an economic policy that sought to curb inflation in 1971 by setting controls on wages and prices. After the policy was withdrawn, inflation increased once again, boosting the price of basic goods including clothing. Here is a sampling of prices for back-to-school clothes from Eaton's, a Canadian department store, in August 1973:
• boys' classic denim flared jeans, $5.98 ($28.94 in 2009 dollars)
• boys' print check plush denim pants, $7.98 ($38.62 in 2009 dollars)
• girls' two-tone leather-look vinyl shoes, $8.98 ($43.46 in 2009 dollars)

• The Toronto Star reported in September 1973 that the cost of cafeteria school lunches was also on the rise by an average of nine per cent due to increasing food prices. Hamburgers, roast beef, fish and steakettes were all up in price, but the most popular meal among teenaged students - large fries and gravy, a doughnut and a Coke - remained steady at 60 cents ($2.90 in 2009 dollars).

Medium: Television
Program: CBC News
Broadcast Date: Aug. 21, 1973
Reporter: Norman DePoe
Duration: 1:39

Last updated: September 2, 2014

Page consulted on September 2, 2014

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