Pick n Pay
Pick n Pay back to deals.
  • Retailers have extended their back to school campaigns to later in February, or while stock last, after school reopening dates were moved back amid rising Covid-19 infections. 
  • Value retailer Pep has decided to delay advertising its promotions on TV.  
  • Shopping patterns have changed and parents have not started shopping for school supplies in big numbers.
  • For more stories, go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

January normally marks an important sale season for retailers as parents prepare their children to return to school – and fierce competition can mean some good deals on back-to-school necessities.

But this year is different. With public schools now officially due to open only in mid February, parents have not yet started to shop in the usual numbers yet.

Value retailer Pep launched several promotions from as early as the end of December, but has had to delay some of its TV marketing.

The retailer said that, traditionally, most of its customers hold off on school purchases until just before schools open each year. So far it has seen significantly fewer parents shopping for school supplies this year.

See also: Mr Price now sells school uniforms - here's how its prices compare to Pep, Woolies

“We are currently trading way below last year. With the postponement of school openings, it is currently difficult to predict how we will perform against last year over the combined January and February period,” Pep communications manager Mariki Schwiebus said.

She added that the demand for school-related clothing had slowed since the start of the lockdown in March 2020, given that some learners were permitted to attend school in civvies. (Wearing the same blazer or jersey every day is seen as a risk for transmitting the virus.) 

Shoprite, which released its Back-to-School promotion prices on 4 January, said the new school dates as well as customer needs were taken into consideration when it decided on sale dates.

“Considering the pressures many households are under given the current economic environment and the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, we try to always keep our prices as low as possible,” the retailer said.

Pick n Pay started its Back to School promotional activity on 11 January and is also the school supplies sale to 28 February. The retailer also said the delayed start to school has caused a shift in shopping patterns this year.

Pep has kept its start-of-the year school uniform offer at last year’s price of R90 (for a shirt, shorts or skirts, socks, and shoes), while Shoprite also has a similar deal where shoppers, who are Xtra Savings members, can buy a full school uniform for R100 (limited to certain sizes). 

See also: Full school uniforms for R100 and under – Shoprite and PEP go head-to-head

Price competition is fierce again this year between the major retail chains.

Monami 12-piece retractable wax crayons that sell for R42.99 are popular at Shoprite this year. Pick n Pay is selling the same product, but in a packet of two, for R78, or an effective R39 per pack.

For a 22g stick of Pritt, Shoprite charges R25.99 while Pick n Pay sells three 43g sticks for R99.90. At Checkers a 43g stick will cost you R32, if you swipe the Xtra Savings card.

Pick n Pay sells three 30 pocket Flip Files for R75, which equates to R25 a piece, while Checkers is offering it for R25.99. 

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