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Back to school on a budget: The cheapest shops for uniforms

Rebecca Goodman
Written By:
Rebecca Goodman

Sainsbury’s has come out cheapest for school uniform items from all of the UK’s major retailers who sell them.

A bundle of school uniform clothes for a nine-year old came to £47 at Tu Clothing, from Sainsbury’s.

This included two each of the following items: pinafore dresses, polo shirts, skirts, sweatshirts, boys’ trousers, and girls’ trousers.

The Nutmeg range from Morrisons was the second-cheapest, totalling £48.95, in the analysis from Which?.

The consumer group looked at the prices of eight big retailers but did not include the discount supermarkets Aldi and Lidl. It said that although they sell cheap school uniform items, they usually sell out quickly and are not restocked so these two retailers were left out of the analysis.

Asda was the third-cheapest, with the bundle costing £53, followed by Tesco at £64.50, and Matalan at £69.

The most-expensive retailer was Next, where the bundle came to £102, followed by John Lewis where it was £85 and M&S where it was £73.

At Next, although the items were the most expensive, some items were sold individually and not in multipacks like the other retailers listed. For these Which? doubled the price of the single item.

Several of the shops had offers on, such as two for the price of one, and Which? factored these into its prices. At Morrisons, for example, its polo shirts come in packs of three so the consumer group adjusted the price to two-thirds of the pack, so it was comparable with other shops selling polo shirts in packets of two.

The research from Which? was only a select bundle of clothes, so this won’t always work out as the cheapest option for parents.

The overall cheapest will depend on the items a child needs and also the requirements of the school. Some schools ask for children to wear uniform items with a logo, for example, which can usually only be bought at specialist shops.

Shopping around between shops could also work out cheaper, if someone has the time to do this, because prices vary and special offers and discounts are often on.

School uniform grants

Some parents will also be eligible for a school uniform grant worth £200. These are available for those receiving benefits such as Universal Credit or child tax credit or for children who receive free school meals.

These grants are handled by local councils so to find out if you could get one you’ll need to contact your local authority. You can find the details on the Gov.uk website.

Most schools also run second-hand uniform sales throughout the year. There are also usually second-hand uniform items available in local charity shops.

Ele Clark, Which? retail editor, said: “School uniforms don’t come cheap – especially if you have to buy them for more than one child. Household budgets have been battered by an unrelenting cost-of-living crisis, but our latest research shows some retailers will help your money go further than others.

“Parents and guardians can also save money by buying second-hand, opting for multipacks, choosing longer-lasting options such as trousers with a hem that can be let down, and of course keeping an eye out for special offers.”