Daily Express
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Back-to-school sales slow to pick up

Published on: Monday, December 30, 2013

Kota Kinabalu: Schools are set to reopen in less than a week on Jan. 2, but there appears to be no rush by parents to buy uniforms and related items like bags, shoes and stationery unlike in previous years, a random Daily Express survey showed.

There is slightly higher cost incurred for these items this year which for just one kid on average may mean forking out up to RM350 for a minimum two sets of uniforms, shoes and bag.

Some parents interviewed said they had no choice but to buy at least four sets of uniforms as a precaution because they are too busy and the weather may make it impossible for the clothes to be dried and ironed on time for use the following day.

The new school term begins next Thursday in all States, except Kedah, Kelantan, Terengganu and Johor where the classes start on Jan. 1. The first mid-term break is form March 22 to 30, the mid-year break from May 28 to June 15 and the second mid-term break from Sept 13 to 21. The year-end break starts on Nov. 22.

The "Back to School" programme Supervisor for Parkson at Wawasan Plaza, Md Izwan B. Romolo, said sales had reduced by 30 per cent since the bus terminal was closed pending completion of a new facility.

"During previous years, sales were better. The discouraging response is definitely due to change. When the bus terminal was across the road, people who took the bus and stop there would come here first and end up purchasing school items," she said.

Izwan found out that other shops were also facing the problem. "As for price, we have maintained it and therefore and everything is same as last year." He noted there were still a few more days to go and hopes sales to pick up by then.

Alice Ajadap, Sales Executive at Ngiukee, Centre Point (basement) said some parents sometimes went shopping for school clothes and school items only after school re-opens. "This has led us to extend our back-to-school sales until Jan. 5," she said.

Asked what would happen to the unsold items if demand does not pick up, she said: "We will be returning the clothes to our suppliers from KL and Sarawak."

On the supply and price, she said they maintained the number of supplies and also the selling price. "Unfortunately, sales are not that encouraging this year. The only thing I can figure out at the momentÉsales have dropped because of the uniform sizes.

"They are probably not suitable for some children and are unable to fit them. This is probably one of the reasons why customer response this year is not as encouraging as last year."

Through random observation, some of the prices are between RM23.90 to RM26.90 for short sleeves, a skirt costs between RM36.90 and RM39.90 and long pants from RM37.90 to RM40.90.

A parent who wanted to be known as Aminah said she and her husband chose to budget this year and buy only one pair for their daughter while another who preferred to remain anonymous admitted that they wanted to cut costs this year.

"I guess it all depends on whether one can afford it or not," said Jonathan.