Brisk business as parents throng stores for back to school shopping
By Alvin Mwangi and Roy Lumbe and Harrison Kivisu
With only three days before schools re-open for the first term this year, there was a hive of activity in book and uniform stores across country as traders recorded brisk business.
In Nairobi, parents complained of high prices of school items with most saying they may not afford to buy all the required items.
A spot check by People Daily at various stores revealed long queues even as traders had a hectic time trying to attend to the overwhelming clientele.
Hundreds of parents who were accompanied by their children moved from one shop to another looking for the necessary items.
Speaking to People Daily, Gladys Wangui, who owns a bookshop on River Road, said business was fairly good, but there were still challenges as most parents opted for second- hand books citing high cost.
“Most of our loyal customers are slowly shifting to the old books as they are cheaper and can be exchanged,” she said.
But despite the high prices of school items, traffic was high in book selling stores such as Text Book Centre and the Savani’s.
John Kamau, whose son is set to join Form One, lamented that sellers had hiked prices. “We have no choice but to buy these items at a high cost as they are required in school. If it will require us to take loans we will do so,” he said, adding that being a matatu driver he also knows that from next week PSVs will hike fares as children start going to school.
Shoe sellers also made brisk business with John Otini, an attendant at a Bata store, saying this week business has been good. “We are recording a high number of customers compared to other days.”
According to the Ministry of Education, the first term will run from January 6 and end on April 14.
The situation was the same in Nakuru as long queues were witnessed in bookshops and uniform outlets in the county.
At CopyCate Uniform centre and Patmat Bookshop it was a hive of activity as parents and their children flocked to the stores to purchase school uniform and books.
Mary Kimani a mother of twin boys complained of the high cost of school items saying: “I am purchasing school uniform for my children who are joining boarding school. Economy is tough although prices here are fair compared to other shops I have been to today.”
Nicodemus Orenge said he decided to shop early to avoid the last-minute rush which leads to the hiking of prices.
Patmat Bookshop director Patrick Matindi said the last-minute rush for parents is not a new thing, adding that it is witnessed on all opening days especially first term.
He said due to the high numbers of parents visiting the center they have been forced to employ more people to meet the demands.
Matindi said they have sold many Grade Four CBC books as he called on students to maintain discipline and not burn school property as has been witnessed in the past saying parents spend a lot on their education.
“Although business is good for us traders, I sympathise with parents as the cost of buying required school items is high, I urge learners to appreciate their parents’ efforts by concentrating on their studies. They are our future and now they should focus on education,” he added.