Back to school: sales of school staples soar early at John Lewis and Waitrose

With children across England and Wales heading back to school in September – many for the first time in five months – John Lewis and Waitrose have seen sales of school staples soar as eager parents avoid the traditional last-minute rush in anticipation of the big return to classrooms.

School uniform sales at John Lewis are currently 15% higher than this time last year, including sales of school shoes, which were up 99% last week compared to the week before as parents have been taking advantage of the pre-book shoe fitting service before school begins in September. Irons were also up 10% last week as parents prepare school uniforms for the return to the classroom.

Stationery has also been snapped up, with sales of ballpens and notebooks up 11%. Tech products are proving popular as parents prepare for the new school year with Chromebooks up 107% and  10″ tablets up 71% on the year.

With many schools now advising on packed lunches, sales of lunch boxes at John Lewis rose 21% compared to last week, with reusable water bottles up 49% compared to last year.

Meanwhile, searches for ‘lunchbox’ on Waitrose.com have grown by 60% compared to the same time last year, ‘lunch ideas’ by 172% and ‘lunch snacks’ by 98%. Sales of lunchbox favourites, including children’s drinks have also started to see a rise, up 21%.

Elaine Hooper, Cookshop buyer at John Lewis, said: “We normally see a last-minute rush for school essentials the week before schools go back – but this year, with lockdown giving us all more time, parents have been getting their little ones ready earlier than ever before. Lunchboxes have proved particularly popular, with many children set to take a packed lunch into the new school year.”

To help parents with their back-to-school preparations, Emma Williams, Nutrition Manager at Waitrose, gives her top tips for nutritious lunchboxes that will keep little learners full throughout the day.
week treat, but try to keep these to a minimum.

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