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student rushing with stack of books

Got some back-to-college shopping on your to-do list for this coming weekend?

Join the crowd.

In fact, good luck avoiding the crowd.

Only about 15% of families had finished their college shopping as of last Friday, according to a just-released National Retail Federation (NRF) survey. That’s down from 19% at the same time last year. On average, families said they weren't even 50% of the way there.

Where should you expect the biggest mobs? Discount and department stores are likely to see the briskest business, the NRF says, with 42% of families saying that’s where they plan to head.

Online retailers were next, with 40%, followed by clothing stores with 31%, office supply stores at 26%, and electronics stores at 22%.

Want to dodge the crowds? Consider local small businesses, thrift and resale shops, and drug stores. A mere 8% of families said they’d be shopping there.

Related: 12 Banned Items to Leave Off Your College Shopping List