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Whether you’re dreading the return to the classroom or counting down the days until September, students everywhere need to gear up for the new school year

We may be in the midst of the summer holidays but for many families attention has already turned to kitting out their kids for the start of the new school year in September.

While in-person classes are set to resume for the second straight year, after the pandemic prompted classes to be taught online, this back-to-shopping season isn’t quite normal. Inflation is top of mind for shoppers, according to back-to-school surveys from Jones Lang LaSalle and Deloitte, published last month.

More than half the parents in the Jones Lang LaSalle survey said they were planning to cut back on spending because of rising prices. Some families are also buying fewer products, the survey found, focusing instead on reusing some school materials and only purchasing necessities. Still, though parents said they planned to spend about 5 per cent more on back-to-school (BTS) shopping than they did last year, the JLL report found.

Deloitte’s back-to-school survey reported that parents face uncertain times once again as they prepare for the upcoming school year. The survey said despite over half having a negative economic outlook, parents plan to spend $661 this BTS season, up 8 per cent year-on-year, as they look to replenish apparel and traditional school supplies. The pandemic fuelled digital acceleration has reached a saturation point but remains higher than pre-pandemic levels. In store shopping will get a boost, representing 49 per cent of the BTS budget versus 43 per cent in 2021.

The report further says the estimated market size will reach $34.4 billion this year, up 24 per cent since 2019, in spite of unprecedented disruption. Besides, the pandemic caused many to reassess priorities around mental health and sustainability. Retailers should take note, as sustainable BTS shoppers spend 22 per cent more on average, while mental wellness shoppers spend 8 per cent more than average.

“Our stores are equipped with experts to guide, recommend and support you right from the time you enter, till you decide what’s best for you and your child.”

- Nilesh Khalkho, CEO, Sharaf DG

It’s always a lucrative time for retail. New clothes for growing children, academic planners, organisation tools, dorm must-haves, school backpacks and lunch boxes as well as school supplies from all the popular brands are seeing discounts right now. Plus, you can’t miss savings on tech and organisation.

“With an incredible line-up of products and promotions, there is something for every family this school season,” says Nilesh Khalkho, CEO, Sharaf DG. “Our stores are equipped with experts to guide, recommend and support you right from the time you enter, till you decide what’s best for you and your child.”

Sharaf DG is an authorised service centre for Apple, Samsung, HP, Asus, Lenovo, and Epson. “We are taking this opportunity to make our contribution to nurture the environment and put study materials to good use through our Book Donation Drive,” adds Khalko. “We hope to receive support in this valuable step as part of the larger responsibility. Bringing ecology and economy together, Sharaf DG is forging a powerful school season this year.”

This is a milestone year for the brand in the UAE, being our 25th year of retailing the back-to-school category, and over the years it stands to reason that we have learned a lot when it comes to studying global trends and evolving our ranges while satisfying the needs of the regional customer.

- Ruban Shanmugarajah, CEO, Babyshop

One of the UAE’s most popular back-to-school retailers, Babyshop’s main target this year is to excite and entice customers after a two-year hiatus and the brand expects children to be eagerly looking forward to refreshing and upgrading their school kit, in line with the latest trends. “We have seen a significant rebound in back-to-school sales so far this year, indicating that consumers are hungry to refresh their school gear after some time,” says Ruban Shanmugarajah, CEO, Babyshop. Therefore, we look forward to what we believe will be our best back-to-school season ever, even overtaking pre-pandemic highs.

Babyshop prides itself as the one-stop destination for all back-to-school essentials such as uniforms and hosiery, backpacks and trolley bags, through to water bottles and other canteen essentials. It offers the widest choice at affordable prices by introducing fantastic three-piece value packs starting at Dh99 and a 5-piece value pack starting at Dh149.

“This is a milestone year for the brand in the UAE, being our 25th year of retailing the back-to-school category, and over the years it stands to reason that we have learned a lot when it comes to studying global trends and evolving our ranges while satisfying the needs of the regional customer,” says Shanmugarajah.

This year, the grocery channel will need to fight especially hard to capture market share, given the pressures that inflation is imposing on many families. Carrefour has introduced its All In One Go campaign. Running until the end of August, Carrefour will be providing discounts of up to 50 per cent off on school supplies alongside exciting competitions, prizes, and rewards.

Customers can find all the back-to-school essentials such as stationary, electronics, backpacks and clothing in-store and online at discounted prices up to 50 per cent off. Carrefour also provides all the necessary fresh food, snacks and beverages to make little lunch boxes easy, interesting and nutritious – offering everything under one roof, All In One Go.

“Convenience and competitive prices are the main two factors that control consumer habits when choosing where to shop,” says Christophe Orcet, Head of Commercial and Operations, Carrefour UAE at Majid Al Futtaim Retail. “Therefore, this year, we decided to focus on offering our customers the best value all in one go. Parents will be able to find all their kids’ school essentials in one place, paying one bill and collecting meaningful rewards along the way.”

Food Crowd, UAE’s online grocery store platform, advocating local food production and empowering local farming, has launched a Back-to-School essentials box paired with a limited-time discount on all products, to get parents through lunch box duty with ease.

For just Dh120, shoppers can expect a box packed with both sweet and savoury selections, featuring a range of nutritious goodies perfect for a well-balanced lunch, with options ranging from snack-size veggies, fruits, juice boxes, cheese crackers, healthy fruit roll-ups, and chicken nuggets.

Taking the back-to-school offer further, Food Crowd will also be providing shoppers with a 50 per cent discount on all products, sitewide.

The 50 per cent discount code (BTS50) is valid for a one-time use only during the period until August 19. Additionally, for every box purchased between August 22 to September 3, customers will receive a free kids lunch box.

This back-to-school shopping season, most experts advise and recommend shopping early to find the best deals.

Babyshop’s range this year is a reflection of the prevailing trends post-pandemic. From a character point of view, the big trends continue to be led by Spiderman and Batman for boys, and LOL Surprise and Disney Princess for girls. For toddlers, Paw Patrol and My little Pony will be the leading characters.

“In addition, the main trends for boys are centred around soccer, gaming, space and camouflage. With the FIFA World Cup 2022 around the corner, we anticipate great demand for fan merchandise, and so have bought in some great items celebrating some of the leading nations including Brazil and England, as well as the prominent clubs such as PSG and Liverpool,” says Shanmugarajah. “For girls, the trends are led by floral prints, unicorns, mermaids and butterflies.”

Carrefour also has many activities and prizes to compliment the retail experience.

“For the last two years, virtual classes have affected back-to-school season enormously, with stationary sales dropping by almost 50 per cent in 2020 before it recovered slightly in 2021,” says Orcet. “Interestingly, the demand for stationary was compensated by electronics as parents prepared for home schooling with printers, toners, laptops, tablets and more. This year, we expect stationary sales to reach pre-pandemic levels as students return to the classroom and we are proud to be supporting families across the UAE.”

This month, Carrefour is also giving customers the chance to win exciting prizes when they spend Dh50 or more including a family holiday to Disneyland Paris, an electric scooter, and an iPad. In addition, many brands including Sharpie, Maxi and Post are offering exclusive discounts of up to 30 per cent off for members of Majid Al Futtaim’s loyalty programme, SHARE.

Babyshop will provide consumers with the ultimate convenience to shop online, through click and collect or in person in any of its 50 stores across the UAE, while benefiting the staff. “The entire range of products is available online at, and we offer same day delivery across Dubai and next day delivery for the rest of the UAE,” says Shanmugarajah.