By Suzanne Monaghan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Many area schools have only been on summer break for a month, but back to school ads are already in full swing.

Open the mailbox, there’s a catalog for backpacks – walk through the mall, there are stores promoting back to school sales.

This may leave many parents and students wondering “what happened to summer break?”

“Retailers this summer are very interested in getting their back to school merchandise out a little bit earlier than last year,” said Kathy Grannis with the National Retail Federation.

Grannis says in the struggling economy retailers are fighting for a bigger piece of the $84 billion back to school pie.

“The top reason really is because what’s a stake with back to school. The size of the market is second only to Christmas in terms of total spending,” said Grannis.

And just like the holiday shopping season, Grannis expects the school shopping season to creep up earlier on the calendar.

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