Written on the 12 January 2016


SHOES, uniforms, bags and endless supplies of stationery are once again on the shopping list as parents prepare to send their children back to school for 2016.

According to Australian Retailers Association (ARA) executive director Russell Zimmerman, while Boxing Day sales are undoubtedly the biggest retail gold mine across the board, many businesses are just getting fired up for their key sales period.

"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," says Zimmerman.

"There are certain retailers, such as children's footwear shops and uniform sellers that derive the bulk of their businesses from back-to-school sales."

By the end of this week the ARA and Roy Morgan Research predict that Australian shoppers will have spent $16.8 billion since Boxing Day last year, and it's not just shopfronts that are filling the quota.

Online back-to-school sales have boomed in popularity over recent years, with parents finding easier ways to shop without disrupting crucial early-January work requirements.

"Parents are increasingly turning to e-tail to prepare their children with the equipment they need for the start of school," says Zimmerman.

"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."

Due to the increased use of technology in the education system, retailers are also expecting laptops, tablets and other electric learning accessories to fly off the shelves, with peak sales prospects welcomed by the highly strained electronics industry.

"Electronics retail is an incredibly price competitive space with lean margins, so this boost is very much welcomed by stores in the space," says Zimmerman.

"The administration and receivership of Australian retail icon Dick Smith last week is a testament to the pricing pressures within the industry."

Zimmerman says the beginning of back-to-school sales doesn't flag the end of the post-Christmas retail bonanza.

He says discounts and savings on offer from many brands are expected to continue throughout the month.






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