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Cheap schoolwear pays off

Price-slashing and heavy promotional activity on back-to-school product has paid off for value retailers, as sales of uniforms jumped by as much as 20% year-on-year.

Supermarkets and value chains credited their three-for-two offers and cut-price school uniforms for the uplift in trade in one of the most competitive back-to-school periods to date.

Adrian Mountford, business unit director at Sainsbury’s Tu, said the supermarket’s three-for-two promotion attracted new customers. “Sales are up 20% year on year on back to school. Our bestseller was a three-pack boys’ polo shirt – sales doubled compared with last year.”

Anthony Thompson, mana-ging director of George at Asda, which introduced the cheapest ever school uniform at £4, said schoolwear contributed to an uplift in kidswear sales.

Woolworths said its value uniform at £4.50 was its most popular range, with polo shirts and boys’ black trousers the bestsellers, while Tesco said it had sold more than one million kids’ piqué polo shirts.

But Adams chief executive David Carter-Johnson said: “We put less emphasis on back to school this year so sales were down, but we had less stock too. Back to school is such a commodity that supermarkets are taking more market share.”

Marks & Spencer declined to comment on its uniform sales.

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