Press Centre

Asda welcomes new D.F.E.S guidance on school uniform policies

ASDA has welcomed new guidance for schools from the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) published this week, which clearly tells them to limit the cost of uniforms and make sure they are widely available so as not to be a barrier for low income families.

Last year, the supermarket encouraged parents across the country to ‘shop’ their local school if they were being told where they must buy their school uniform from, having received complaints from parents that they were being bullied into buying expensive uniforms from schools’ ‘preferred outfitters’.

Petitions were put in every ASDA store and were then handed to the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) as part of their review of the UK school uniform market.

The OFT has now written to all schools warning that expensive, exclusive agreements with uniform suppliers may be subject to enforcement action.

Angela Spindler, George Global’s managing director, said: “Customers have always told us it’s unfair if they are being forced to pay over the odds for uniforms just because of the school their kids go to, when they can buy a whole uniform from George for less than a tenner.

“We’ve been campaigning to put a stop to this for some time and are delighted that parents will now be able to save millions of pounds every year by choosing whether they buy school uniforms at a specialist outfitter or at the supermarket when they’re doing their weekly shop.”

Last year’s OFT review found that 84 per cent of schools that require students to have a uniform impose restrictions on the choice of supplier.

Moreover, designated retailers or schools were found to be on average 150 per cent more expensive than supermarkets.

By comparing prices at exclusive outlets with those at other retailers, the OFT estimated that parents of primary and secondary schoolchildren are spending £45 million a year more than they need to on school uniforms.

ASDA sells more school uniforms each year than any other retailer. Last year alone, customers bought more than three million pairs of school trousers, two million shirts and half a million school skirts.

Prices in stores currently start at just £2 for a two-pack of shirts, £3 for a pair of trousers or £2.50 for a skirt and £1.75 for a sweatshirt. School blazers are available for £10 – less than half the price of many specialist school suppliers.

Posted in Press Centre on 22 March 2007