We may be in the height of the summer holidays but for many families attention has already turned to kitting out their kids for the start of the new school year in September.
It’s a lucrative time for retail. According to Mintel, Brits spend £1.2 billion sending kids back to school and M&S says it is the third biggest shopping event of the year – eclipsed only by Christmas and Easter.
But this year many parents will be counting their pennies to make sure their kids are ready to return to the classroom as the cost of living continues to soar.
Retail Gazette looks at what retailers are offering as part of their back-to-school campaigns.
M&S has vowed to keep the prices of its school uniform static due to the cost-of-living crisis.
“Now, more than ever, we want customers to have confidence in the value and quality of our uniform,” M&S head of kids Alice Duggan says.
The retailer also ran a 20% off promotion on schoolwear between July 5 to 25.
To capitalise on the demand for kids products ahead of the return to school, M&S has recently expanded its third-party brand platform, which now includes Clarks and Smiggle.
M&S highlights that its schoolwear is designed to be durable and “pass the ‘hand-me-down’ quality test”.
“As the UK market leaders during the back-to-school season, we want to not only protect the prices, but help extend the life of our school ranges through design features and innovations so items can be worn for longer,” Duggan said.
As it puts sustainability high on the agenda in back to school, M&S has also embraced resale in kidswear.
In April, the retailer became the the first major high street retailer to partner with peer-to-peer kidswear resale platform Dotte with shoppers receiving a £5 off a £25 spend voucher when reselling M&S products on the platform.
Tesco is also promoting the value and durability of its back to school offer.
Uniforms come with ‘grow with me’ hems, adjustable waists and Teflon stain repellent technology that reduced the need for parents to buy mid-year replacements.
Tesco also offers a 100-day guarantee across all uniform items, including shoes, giving parents peace of mind that if kids wear out their uniform quicker than expected, it can easily be exchanged or returned.
Colours are also made to last no matter how often uniform gets washed, whilst easy iron features, reinforced seams, and permanent pleats help reduce ironing time.
The uniform range is available in Tesco stores nationwide now, alongside other school essentials such as stationery, bags and lunch box essentials.
Tesco has significantly increased the number of value lines on offer in back to school, from price matching basics to Aldi prices, providing Low Everyday Prices on household staples, and offering exclusive deals and rewards through thousands of Clubcard Prices to help families, and all customers, this summer.
The grocer is also running a ‘kids eat free’ initiave in Tesco Cafés until 26 August so parents can bring their little ones to store when buying their uniform.
F&F head of buying for kids and baby Jennie Burbage said: “At Tesco we know that price and quality, along with style, comfort and durability, are the most important factors for parents and children choosing new items.
“This is why our range is affordable and made to last. We’ve done everything we can to help make going back to school as practical and affordable as possible.”
The Big Four supermarket has also focused on promoting the durability of its school uniform, which comes with a 150-day guarantee.
The retailer has also launched The Savvy School Shop on Tu.co.uk, Argos.co.uk and in selected Sainsbury’s store.
Price start at just £3 for a two pack of polo shirts and £5 for a set of two cardigans.
Aldi is offering prices as little as £1.50 across ages four to twelve years, pieces include everything from shoes, skirts and shirts to other uniform essentials like pinafores, polo shirts, trousers and socks.
The discounter is selling its back to school range as a £5 uniform bundle, which includes two polo shirts, one sweatshirt and either trousers or a skirt.
The clothing is available in sizes from four to 12 years and it also offers a 150-day satisfaction guarantee.
Alongside clothing, Aldi is also pushing a raft of licensed backpacks from popular characters such as Harry Potter, My Little Pony and Spongebob Squarepants. It is also promoting its wide range of stationery.
Microsoft is offering 10% off on its Surface devices and accessories. Students, parents and educators are eligible year-round for a discount.
Customers can save up to £464 on Microsoft Surface Pro 7, while being able to use Office 365 for free – and not as part of a trial.
Students and teachers are eligible for Office 365 Education, which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and now Microsoft Teams, plus additional classroom tools.
Very has launched a marketing campaign called ‘Back to cool’ to show off its latest back-to-school range.
The online retailer has created a YouTube video that features a schoolboy walking through school corridors to be celebrated by peers for his outfit – which is Very’s school uniform.
The video ends with “Everything to rule their new school year.”
The retailer is offering “flexible ways to pay” for the schoolwear range as the cost-of-living crisis puts a strain on finances.
“For the flexible way to shop everything for their new school year. Say hello to Very pay,” Very said.
George at Asda launched its Back-to-School campaign, ‘Uniform for the People’, in late July to promote the affordability of its schoolwear amid the cost-of-living crisis.
Its advert features children delivering a grime track in their school playground with catch but lyrics with important messages such as “Only spend what you should, you can still look good, school’s for everyone – I’d go all day if I could”.
A pupil even uses a “money gun” to shoot savings straight into parents’ wallets as they wait at the school gates.
George at Asda head of creative Claudia Solano said: “As the cost-of-living crisis continues, families across the UK are dealt another blow when it comes to the cost of sending their child back to school, and we know our customers are re-evaluating their spend in the lead up to September.
“Dressing kids for school is a moment that should be filled with a lot of pride for parents. They want their kids to have the best of the best. Our lower price, great quality and reusable uniforms means we can get more parents and kids ready for school than any of our competitors.”
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