Battle for back to school sales begins

stationeryBack to school preparations will see school shoes, backpacks, stationery and lunchbox purchases increase in frequency from this week, according to the Australian Retailers Association (ARA).

The ARA says that as Boxing Day markdowns become fewer later in the month, the focus in stores and shopping precincts will switch to school supplies, providing apparel, footwear, department stores and newsagents.

“While Christmas and Boxing Day sales are most definitely the busiest times for retail stores across the board, there are certain retailers, such as children’s footwear shops and uniform sellers that derive the bulk of their business from back to school sales,” said ARA executive director, Russell Zimmerman.

“Parents are increasingly turning to e-tail to prepare their children with the equipment they need for the start of school,” said Zimmerman. “With many parents now back at full or part time work following the Christmas break, e-commerce provides convenience and flexibility to purchase all the necessities students require.”

The ARA says the increased use of technology within the education system, will see back to school sales in 2016 provide a significant windfall for electronics retailers and sellers of laptops, tablets and other electronic learning accessories.

“Electronics retail is an incredibly price competitive space with lean margins, so this boost is very much welcomed by stores in the space. The administration and receivership of Australian retail icon, Dick Smith, last week is a testament to the pricing pressures within the industry,” said Zimmerman.

Officeworks is in the midst of its back to school campaign, while Target is heavily promoting its school uniforms to drive sales.

Patricia Priolo, childrenswear GM at Target Australia, says families need the reassurance their child’s school clothing will last as Target launches its back to school collection. Target says it is implementing a new 100 day quality guarantee, allowing refunds and returns on any school clothing and shoes within a 100 day window.

“Kids put their clothes and shoes through so much in the schoolyard, particularly when mum and dad aren’t around to tell them to slow down,” Priolo said. “We want to give parents the peace of mind that the gear can go the distance and last through all the inevitable food spills and tumbles.”

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