As the new year begins, parents of school children are purchasing stationery, books and new school clothing before their children begin the 2022 academic year.
The Competition Tribunal’s latest decision with regard to school clothing suppliers will be a welcomed relief for parents. Parents can no longer be forced to purchase school clothing from a specific retailer.
It is expected that the latest ruling will result in parents having to pay less for school clothing. Previously for some schools, uniforms had to be purchased from a specific retailer. This essentially gave the retailer the power push up prices as there would be no competition.
Principal Analyst Karabo Motaung says it is an exciting decision for everyone involved at the commission. She is hopeful that the decision will result in more competition in the school clothing market which will be a welcomed relief for parents.
She said, “we are hoping that parents are now able to go and shop anywhere at stores which they feel are affordable for their own pockets so a parent can decide. If they feel if PEP is more affordable to them they can go to PEP and buy a shirt or go to an Edgars or to a Woolworths rather than being directed to a specific supplier to buy a shirt that specifically has a school badge”.
Motaung explains that competition is important for consumers. This as it provides them to choose what is best suited to their budgets.
She adds that schools are also not being asked to do away with unique uniform characteristics. The commission is asking these schools to reduce the number of unique items that parents are required to purchase.
She revealed that schools also have the option to have more than one supply for uniforms while questioning why some retailers have been given the rights to supply certain schools with uniforms for decades. This essentially provided the retailers to set the price and lock up the market.
Motaung added, “if they have two suppliers both suppliers should have access to the quality and the grade of material that the school requires in order for them to be able to produce the uniform that the school requires and for them to compete effectively as well”.