Retail stores across St George and the Sutherland Shire have been hit by waves of frantic parents buying items like shoes, stationery and uniforms ahead of the 2018 school year.
Most children will head back to school next week across the region – meaning last minute shopping for parents.
Claudine Schoolwear in Caringbah is open seven days a week until the end of January to meet high demand for uniforms.
Owner Kevin Tsetong said they stocked uniforms for about 70 local schools and they had been busy throughout January, with 18 staff on deck during the peak month.
He said parents were generally buying two or three uniforms for each child to last the year.
Meanwhile, Wilson Family Shoe Store (Jannali) owner Colleen Foster said sales had been great in the lead up to school returning.
“It has been excellent. We have had a really good back-to-school period.”
She said families were coming in and getting children set up for the year.
“Some people bring the whole family. We had a grandfather in yesterday with five of his grandchildren.”
She added perhaps the most popular brand of school shoe was Saramanda this year. “They have been going like hot cakes.”
Mrs Foster has been operating the store for almost 40 years and said she had been helped by her daughters over January, who are all teachers.
St Vincent de Paul Sutherland regional council vice president Frank Tierney said many families felt the pinch at this time of year.
He said a big donation from Southgate Shopping Centre in Sylvania would help a lot of people in the shire.
About 1000 items were donated this week through the shopping centre’s Operation Backpack including plenty of backpacks, pens, pencils, rulers and lunch boxes.
The campaign sees shoppers donate back-to-school goods in big baskets at the shopping centre before they are donated to Vinnies for distribution across St George and the shire.
“At this time of year children can be anxious about going to a new school or starting in a new class, and they don’t want to worry about things like having a school bag and all the other things you need for school,” Mr Tierney said.
He thanked the shopping centre for their generous support.
An Officeworks Carlton spokesperson said they had been really busy this month. He said perhaps the most popular item was the 50c work books, while other stationery goods had also been selling well.
- If you have back-to-school goods you would like to donate to Vinnies contact its offices in Sutherland (02) 9532 3120 or Hurstville (02) 9580 2459. You can also contact those offices if you require help getting your children equipped for school.