Inside these posts: Back to school

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MasterCard reports back-to-school uptick

Caution remained the name of the game for U.S. consumers in September, but there was an upswing in spending on back-to-school supplies and less expensive electronics, according to a report by MasterCard Advisors’ SpendingPulse.

Clothing, electronics and online retailers all saw sales gains in September, SpendingPulse said, supporting Wall Street’s view that they got a boost from late back-to-school shopping that pushed sales from August. Get the full story »

OfficeMax reiterates its third-quarter sales outlook

OfficeMax Inc. maintained its third-quarter sales forecast on Tuesday and said customers were budget conscious in their back-to-school spending.

No state sales tax on school gear starting Friday

Back-to-school bargain hunters will want to get their shopping lists ready.

Illinois’ sales-tax holiday starts Friday and continues through Aug. 15 for shoppers who are buying select items. Some Chicago-area retailers plan to open as early as 6 a.m. Friday in honor of the tax holiday.

Shoppers should remember that the sales-tax holiday means they won’t have to pay the 5 percent state sales tax on qualifying school supplies, clothing and shoes. County and city sales taxes remain in effect, and items such as computers and most sports equipment aren’t included.