Traders selling school uniforms feeling the pinch

Parents and their kids shopping for school uniform at shop in Masai, Pasir Gudang on Friday (Jan 08) - NUR AISYAH MAZALAN/The Star

PETALING JAYA: With no “back to school” for most students, traders selling school uniforms are back to keeping their stocks.

According to these sellers, the stocks that they ordered earlier had piled up in their stores, since many students are taking online lessons instead of attending classes physically.

They said the sale of school uniforms, shoes and other items came to a halt after the implementation of MCO 2.0 from Jan 13.

Many of them had brought in the stocks last year using cash, so they are short of funds now as there had been little sale.

“Cashflow is a problem. It is like adding salt to the wound, ” said Keluargaku (M) Sdn Bhd director Nick Lim.

Keluargaku, an outlet in Melaka, specialises in producing traditional Malay attire and school uniforms. It supplies to retailers like Mydin, Aeon and Tesco.

The latest movement restrictions, said Lim, were another blow to retailers who were unable to sell much during the last Hari Raya season.

“After the economy gradually picked up in June last year, we started preparing for the Back to School sales, including ordering fabrics from overseas before beginning production.

“We were seeing some sales earlier this month. Now we are back to poor sale and no cash flow, ” he said.

Mydin Mohamed Holdings Bhd managing director Datuk Ameer Ali Mydin agreed, adding that the credit term given by local suppliers is up to 30 days and business operators are required to pay regardless of sales performance.

“Business operators in Malaysia usually place their order with the manufacturers from China many months ahead.

“For example, for the usual school term that starts in early January, we will place our order in March the previous year so that manufacturers have time to produce and deliver the goods by October.

“Parents will be able to see the goods on the shelves for the Back to School promotion beginning November onwards, ” said Ameer Ali, who is also vice-president of Malaysia Retailers Association.

But with parents not buying now, it affects businesses in terms of cash flow because they have to pay the suppliers, he said.

Pusat Pakaian Hari-Hari Sdn Bhd director SM Sani said sales at his 86 stores nationwide were picking up when the government announced earlier that schools would resume on Jan 20.

The Education Ministry subsequently stated that only upper secondary school students sitting for exams are allowed to attend school physically.

Sani said that his stocks are now held up at his warehouse, “moving very slowly.”

“Other than school uniforms, we also sell school bags, shoes and stationery.

“With no physical classes, parents have stopped buying for now, especially with children outgrowing their clothes and shoes fast, ” he said, adding that the company has been finding ways to get sales from other avenues such as through online e-commerce platforms.

“We are doing our best to sustain, ” he said.

He added that he expects sales to return when the MCO is lifted and schools reopen.

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school , uniforms , traders , covid-19 , back to school


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