The back-to-school season is usually a time of new beginnings, but consumers are more eager than usual for a fresh start after the pandemic. That emotion will fuel spending, according to a new forecast. Back-to-school sales in the U.S. are expected to grow 6.7% from 2019 and 5.5% from last year’s Covid days, according to a forecast by Mastercard SpendingPulse. The company uses nonautomotive spending patterns online and in stores to make retail projections for the period that spans from mid-July to early September. The sales season is typically a major driver for retailers as families buy school supplies, clothes, and college dorm decor. This year, however, it will also serve as a barometer for consumer confidence as Covid cases wane in the U.S. and many people return to routines like full days in a classroom, meetings at the office, and a busier roster of activities. Read more at CNBC.