Statement: Back to School

“Like many other retail sectors, the schoolwear industry recognised that there would be challenges in serving the required volume of customers whilst implementing social distancing, given the highly seasonal selling period running up to the start of the new school year in September.

“Schoolwear Association members were quick to implement various measures that would be needed to keep customers and staff safe. Once retail stores were allowed to reopen in June, we have been communicating regularly with both schools and parents to encourage early purchasing this year, to try to spread demand over a longer period running up to Back to School. To help with this process, members also introduced in-store appointment systems, increased online services, extended exchange policies to allow parents to purchase earlier with confidence, and longer opening hours.

“This year more than ever, we completely understand that emotions can run high in the final few days before Back to School. Although schoolwear retailers anticipated these challenges and put measures in place, like elsewhere on the high street, the time it takes to serve customers has increased and this has impacted the number of customers we are able to service through the day.”

Matthew Easter, co-chair of the Schoolwear Association.