The screwy economy is affecting this year’s back-to-school shopping. American Express found that parents and teenagers plan to spend an average of $527 on clothing and school supplies, down $21 or 4% from last year. The American Express Retail Index also found that fewer parents are getting a jumpstart on back-to-school shopping. Twenty percent of parents plan to start their shopping this month, compared to 26% in 2000. More than half of parents (59%) say they will wait until August to begin their shopping. As in 2000, parents and teens will head in different directions for back-to-school clothing. Thirty-four percent of parents will do most of their apparel shopping at mass merchandisers like K-Mart, Target or Wal-Mart (vs.22% of teens), while 36% of teens plan to shop at specialty stores such as The Gap or The Limited (vs. 11% of parents). For half of parents (49%), cash will be the primary payment method, followed by credit/charge cards (19%), personal checks (18%) and debit cards (10%). Teens shopping without their parents will most often use a combination of their own cash plus cash from their parents to pay for back-to-school purchases (43%). For more information, visit http://www.americanexpress.com.