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Retailers Take Note-Discounts Will Drive Purchasing Decisions of Cost-Conscious Students This Year: BMO

Canadians say they'll spend more this year on back-to-school purchases but students say they intend to make greater use of savings cards and saving programs to tackle expenses

- Most students (56 per cent) will take advantage of discount and reward programs to lower their day-to-day living expenses

- On-line or in-store deals, Student Price Card (SPC Card) affiliations, most likely programs to generate patronage from students

- 40 per cent of students say retailers should use more technology in-store to help them find out about deals

- 59 per cent of students say online deals would drive them to make a purchase online



TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 7, 2012) - Canadian retailers hoping to capture a share of the annual back-to-school shopping blitz will have to rely more heavily on coupons, discounts, sales and rewards to attract increasingly cost-conscious students to their doors, according to a recent BMO survey.

BMO today released the results of a survey that indicated Canadians plan to spend 13 per cent more on back-to-school shopping this year than they did last year. At the same time, 68 per cent of students polled said they expect to take advantage of sales, discount cards or rewards programs in the coming school year -- an increase of more than 20 per cent vs. last year.

In BMO's study, 24 per cent of students said they expected to use online or in-store deals most often; 22 per cent expected to use an SPC Card and only nine per cent of students polled expected to use store loyalty or rewards programs.

"There's an underlying theme in current research that suggests students are savvier and more financially responsible than they have been perceived to be," said Su McVey, Vice President, BMO Bank of Montreal. "They are sensible enough to spend within their means and smart enough to know how to get more out of the dollars that they do spend by looking for online deals and discount cards to lower their costs. In fact, these two strategies were far and away the most prevalent tactics that students said they expect to use to keep their expenses in check."

"These insights provide a real opportunity for retailers who will embrace new technology, such as mobile apps and social media, and who can deliver attractive deals or affiliate themselves with a widely recognized discount program, such as an SPC Card," said Ms. McVey.

"While there's been a healthy increase in the number of students taking advantage of cost-saving programs like those offered by SPC Card, we'd like to see even more students use discounts and their credit card rewards programs on planned purchases to help lower their every day expenses even further."

As an example, BMO offers a no-fee BMO SPC MasterCard, which incorporates complimentary SPC Card program benefits, making discounts of 10 to 15 per cent available to students when they purchase goods or services from hundreds of participating fashion, food and lifestyle retailers across Canada. BMO SPC MasterCard cardholders receive an additional perk of exclusive merchant offers throughout the year, making it possible for a typical student to earn as much as $380 per year in discounts and rewards using a BMO SPC MasterCard.

Making Money Make Sense to Students

BMO offers a no-fee BMO SPC MasterCard that includes free SPC Card benefits and a choice of CashBack or AIR MILES® reward miles.

BMO also offers a free* banking option to students, including complimentary SPC Card benefits, and is the only bank to extend this offer to recent graduates for an extra year.

To learn more about how BMO can help make student life more affordable, during school and after graduation, stop by a BMO branch today or visit here for more details.

The Pollara online survey was completed between July 19 and July 26, 2012, with a sample of 1018 post-secondary students. A probability sample of this size would yield results accurate to ± 3.1 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

* Applies to the Kids, Teens and Students Discount Programs in the Plus Plan when a Primary Chequing or Premium Rate Savings account is opened. Recent post-secondary school graduates are eligible for one year of free banking under the Student Discount Program. Customer is responsible for all the fees of any transactions, services and products not included in the Everyday Banking Plan.

Media Contacts:
Ralph Marranca, Toronto
(416) 867-3996
ralph.marranca@bmo.com

Carol Greene, Toronto
(416) 867-3996
carol.greene@bmo.com

Valerie Doucet, Montreal
(514) 877-8224
valerie.doucet@bmo.com

Laurie Grant, Vancouver
(604) 665-7596
laurie.grant@bmo.com

Internet: www.bmo.com
Twitter: @BMOmedia