NEW YORK — It was a tough back-to-school season, but teens are still shopping with a frenzy and junior sportswear makers are about as upbeat as any apparel vendors.

Sales of junior apparel registered a 9.2 percent gain to $9.6 billion in the first nine months of this year, according to NPDFashionworld consumer data. This comes at a time when total spending on women’s apparel slipped about 5 percent compared with the same period last year.

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