Parents make early back-to-school raid on shops

2010-01-06 00:00

WITH less than a week to go before the new school year kicks off, parents have started the mad rush for uniforms and school stationery.

The 2010 school year starts a week earlier to accommodate the World Cup, which takes place during the winter holidays.

Stores like Edgars, Woolworths, Game and Gem Schoolwear have been bustling with parents and their children trying to find uniforms and stationery.

Ahmed Pandor is the owner of Gem Schoolwear, one of the largest uniform suppliers in KwaZulu-Natal. He said his stores in Overport and the city centre were inundated with customers doing last-minute shopping.

“Some people did their shopping in early November to avoid the rush. The short December holidays have definitely made things interesting.

Pandor had to call in extra staff to deal with the hundreds of customers at his various stores.

The merchandise director of Massdiscounters, which owns Game stores, Tyrone Vieira, said Game had advertised and displayed back-to-school stationery before Christmas as it found that some consumers bought backpacks and other character merchandise as gifts. The balance of the back-to-school range was put up on December 27.

“Consumers definitely started back-to-school shopping earlier this year. We think there are two main reasons for this.

“Firstly they are being more pragmatic and bought more necessities for Christmas this year as opposed to more traditional gifting items,” he said.

The other reason is better prices. Vieira said the back-to-school period is a very competitive time among retailers. Stationery and uniform prices have not increased dramatically since 2008.

“In terms of overall affordability, this year we have seen a number of prices actually decline on last year due to the favourable exchange rate.

“We have also introduced a number of private branded products which we have sourced directly from the East, thus cutting out any middlemen and extra cost,” he said.

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