Back to school sales ramp up retail

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Back to school sales ramp up retail

12 JANUARY, 2016: School shoes, backpacks, stationery and lunchbox purchases will increase in frequency from this week, as Australian parents prepare school aged children for the new school year, according to the Australian Retailers Association (ARA).

The peak industry body representing Australian retailers says that as Boxing Day markdowns become fewer later in the month, the focus in stores and shopping precincts will switch to school supplies, providing apparel, footwear, department stores, newsagents and a myriad of other specialty retail traders a boost.

“While Christmas and Boxing Day sales are most definitely the busiest times for retail stores across the board, there are certain retailers, such as children’s footwear shops and uniform sellers that derive the bulk of their business from back to school sales,” said ARA Executive Director, Russell Zimmerman.

“Back to school is a milestone each year for students around the country, and the associated purchases that the new school year brings are crucial to many small and large retailers.”

Among the items on parents’ shopping lists are stationery items including pens, notebooks and folders; lunchboxes and cooler bags; school shoes, including sports shoes; uniforms, including socks and sun protection; backpacks and bags; and tablets and laptops.

The ARA has seen more back to school purchases being carried out online in the last few years, and doesn’t expect 2016 to be any different.

“Parents are increasingly turning to e-tail to prepare their children with the equipment they need for the start of school. With many parents now back at full or part time work following the Christmas break, e-commerce provides convenience and flexibility to purchase all the necessities students require.

“With the increased use of technology in our education system, back to school sales in 2016 will also provide a significant windfall for electronics retailers and sellers of laptops, tablets and other electronic learning accessories.

“Electronics retail is an incredibly price competitive space with lean margins, so this boost is very much welcomed by stores in the space. The administration and receivership of Australian retail icon, Dick Smith, last week is a testament to the pricing pressures within the industry,” Mr Zimmerman said.

“Of course, back to school spending does not mean the end of the post-Christmas January sales, we’ll see those discounts continuing right throughout the month, with most stores still offering significant savings across the board.

“The next big discounting period after January will be mid-year sales in June, so I would encourage shoppers to make sure they don’t miss out,” said Mr Zimmerman.

The ARA and Roy Morgan Research predicts that Australian shoppers will spend $16.8 billion post-Christmas, in the period from December 26, 2015 to January 15, 2016.

For interview opportunities with ARA Executive Director, Russell Zimmerman, call the ARA Media team on 0439 612 556 or email


About the Australian Retailers Association: Founded in 1903, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is the retail industry’s peak representative body representing Australia’s $284 billion sector, which employs more than 1.2 million people. The ARA works to ensure retail success by informing, protecting, advocating, educating and saving money for its 5,000 independent and national retail members throughout Australia. For more information, visit or call 1300 368 041.

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