George at Asda has hit back at Marks & Spencer by slashing the price of its school uniforms by more than 50%.
George's standard £4 uniform undercuts M&S by a minimum of £2.50 and is the cheapest on the market. M&S unveiled a £6.50 uniform last week but the price only applies to the three- to six-year-old age group. It rises to £13.50 for 16-year-olds. George’s £4 price is for all age groups.
George managing director Anthony Thompson told Drapers he was appalled by the pricing structures in kidswear, which often sees prices go up as sizes get larger.
"We’re calling on the industry to regulate kidswear pricing. The price rises across different age groups in kidswear can be significant. This doesn’t happen for adults," he said.
With George’s standard £4 uniform, its price of schoolwear for a 12-year-old is 56% cheaper than in 2007, when it launched uniforms for £9.96.
Thompson added: "Once we've seen the results of this strategy, I'll start to challenge this [pricing] differential across the kidswear market as a whole."
George’s decision to delay its back-to-school promotion until August coincides with the peak back-to-school buying period.
"Customers are strapped for cash so we’re offering real value for money," said Thompson.
Carol Ratcliffe, retail analyst at consultancy firm Verdict, said George's offer would help Asda reconnect with its customers: "George had lost its way a bit and this offer reminds shoppers of what the supermarket is about, by targeting a family-oriented customer and offering value."
George is supporting its back-to-school offers with a print and TV advertising campaign, launching this weekend.
Separately, Tesco has launched a uniform for £4.25.