There’s nothing normal about back-to-school sales this year.

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Many retailers are grappling with an unusual back-to-school shopping season, which typically drives sales in July and August. This year is different, with many schools and colleges planning to start remotely.

Bed Bath & Beyond recently introduced a “College at Home” section on its website, encouraging parents and students to buy new wares to transform their childhood bedrooms into what it called “dreamy dorm spaces” for remote learning, with youthful themes such as “chill camp vibes,” “low-key bohemian” and “modern glam.”

The pitch is to make the rooms “more effective and more exciting to them even if they can’t be on campus,” said Joe Hartsig, chief merchandising officer at Bed Bath & Beyond. “It’s a real window of change for students to reflect that they’ve moved on from high school and are in college, and want their room to reflect a different room.”

Kohl’s back-to-school offerings are listed online with the tagline, “Heading back or logging in, the new year starts here.” The typical clothing and backpacks are followed by a link to face masks and hand sanitizer. Another section tailored to remote learners offers “everything kids need to redefine the routine.” It includes links to educational toys and virtual learning tools, as well as others titled “Your Kitchen Cafeteria” and “Backyard Recess.”

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