NEW YORK (WCBS 880/AP) — Half-priced jeans and promotional freebies are already popping up at the mall with the start of school still weeks away.

With frugal Americans spending their limited discretionary dollars more on gadgets, it’s going to be tough for stores to get shoppers to buy back-to-school fashion. Teen clothing specialists like Abercrombie & Fitch face the toughest battle with the most at stake.

Those shops are grappling with stiffer competition from department stores armed with fast fashion of their own. They were also more optimistic than their bigger rivals when placing orders.

Aeropostale Inc. just started marking down all new jeans by 50 percent and Abercrombie by 40 percent. Other sales gimmicks include free cell phones and a chance to audition for a movie.

(TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


Watch & Listen LIVE