Back to school—not for uniform sellers

Business Pandemic

The pandemic shut their shops, leaving them searching for other means of survival.

Uniform sellers are hoping to get their businesses back on track as schools re-open.

Shankar, a worker in the Modern School Uniform said they sold the leftover stock of 2019 before the pandemic. When the lockdown arrived, they went into a complete loss. “Before the pandemic, our annual turnover was around Rs. 30-35 lakh but now we are facing heavy losses. Our owner was unable to pay  salaries, so most of the workers quit.” He said that even with the schools reopening, they are only getting 15 – 20 orders from schools.

Another seller, Pasha, said that they are in complete loss. “Only some schools have reopened—that too for 11th and 12th grades,” he added.

Prabhuraj Anjanappa Gowda, owner of Lotus Uniform said that their business was established twenty years ago.  They have not seen such a crisis in their entire business life.  When Covid-19 cases started to rise in March 2020, their sales fell. Now they are  waiting for the government’s order to reopen schools. Also, as the manufacturing cost has gone up, they are considering increasing  the price of the uniforms.

Ravi Basappa, the owner, manufacturer, and supplier of the Forerunner Uniform on Bannerghatta Road said that the pre-pandemic stock has still not sold. He added, “The prices of uniforms will be higher as there has been a great spike in the cost of raw material. The cost of manufacturing has increased by 20 – 25 percent.”

Kavita, a parent, said that if the price of uniforms increases, she would be  unwilling to buy them. “Schools may shut down again if the cases rise—we are better off reusing old uniforms,” she added.

Garvita Bhangariya, a Chartered Accountant said, “We never thought that schools could ever be closed for so long and the school dress industry could  go out of business. Till the time schools reopen, they need to look beyond uniforms to survive. They should start selling clothes other than uniforms. One should have multiple sources of income so that when the time comes, one or the other source will save them. But I think, the industry will see a quick recovery as soon as schools reopen.”