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Ecommerce and mums’ ideas drive back-to-school sales

Supermarket chains Asda, Tesco and Sainsbury’s have reported strong back-to-school seasons, citing design improvements and a surge in online shopping for the boost in sales.

Sales of schoolwear at George at Asda, which introduced more design ideas from mums, including secured hems on all trousers and spill-resistant finishes on cotton trousers, rocketed 90% year on year over the week to August 29, with items selling at a rate of two a second over the bank holiday weekend.

Sainsbury’s also reported “significant sales growth” this year across its back-to-school clothing, footwear and smaller garments such as socks and tights.

John Carolan, head of childrenswear buying at Sainbury’s, said: “We had a really successful back-to-school campaign, which can be attributed to our focus on keeping uniform prices low while not compromising on quality.”

Tesco reported its most successful back-to-school season ever, pointing to high ratings from parents as well as favourable reviews in the national press. A spokeswoman said: “The availability of the full range online, including the option to click and collect, also helped to drive sales.”

Online purchases at George at Asda were up 70%, with sales through its click-and-collect service up 25% on last year.

However, despite the strong sales, research firm Kantar Worldpanel found that UK sales volumes of school uniforms fell this season.

Over the six months to August 11, sales volumes dropped 5% compared with 2010, while sales by value over the same period rose 1%, according to Kantar Worldpanel. It said this was partly explained by a 7% rise in average prices.

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