Going back to school will be a costly affair

ABU DHABI - Sending children back to the schools in the new academic year after summer vacation is going to be a costly affair as the prices of stationery and school bags have shot up.

By Anwar Ahmad

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Published: Tue 12 Aug 2008, 1:11 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 5:01 PM

According to leading supermarkets in the capital, the prices have risen by 20 per cent as compared to the prices at this time last year because of the rising inflation in the international market. But the parents say that the prices have actually increased by 40 per cent.

The branded items are costlier than the others, as usual.

Spiderman and Cinderella school bags, lunch boxes with pictures of celebrities, water bottles in different shapes and colours, colourful pencils and copiers are a rage among children as they want to show off to their friends that they have the best.

Owners of most of the stationery shops in the capital whom this reporter spoke with said the stationery prices are increasing by Dh1-2 everyday. Every fresh consignment of stationery and notebooks has new price lists as the the international markets are also experiencing high inflation and a rise in the cost of production.

Bejoy Pulicken, spokesman of the Abu Dhabi Cooperative Society, a big chain of supermarket in Abu Dhabi emirate, said, 'We have the best rates for students of all age groups.

'Most of our products are sourced directly from the origin country of that product. We avoid the middlemen to provide the customers the best prices. We have imported stationery products from Far East countries. Notebooks are being procured locally to give the consumers reasonable prices.'

About this year's price hike as compared to last year, Pulicken said. 'The prices of certain branded products are not in the hands of retailers. Our cost of procurement has also gone up as distributors have increased the prices. We import around 80 per cent of the stationery products from the Far East which are sold at cost-effective prices.'

An official of the Emke Group, which runs the LuLu chain of supermarkets in the UAE, admitted to a 20 per cent increase in the prices of all school products as compared to the corresponding period last year. 'We have several products on promotion.'

Pulicken said, 'We are going to start a promotion from August 14 that will go on till the last day of Eid-Al-Fitr on all essential and school items. Ten families chosen through a draw would get free shopping for a whole year.'

Several parents are turning up to buy stationery and other items without their children because the young ones would insist on certain items irrespective of their high prices.

An Arab woman, Majidah Abdul Hameed who came to a shopping centre in the capital to buy stationery items for her child who is going to Grade III, said, 'The prices of all school products have risen by 40-50 per cent as compared to last year.

'I have been residing in Abu Dhabi for five years. The increase in the prices have been the most in the last couple of years. This is when school fees and transportation charges are also going higher. We are already reeling under the high cost of living and this increase will be additional burden,' Hameed said.

A Disney Gowild water bottle which she bought for Dh14 last year is priced at Dh19 now.'

Another shopper, Pallav K., said, 'I came to buy a bag for my five-year-old son. I did not bring him with me because he would insist on some particular brand which I may not be able to afford. The bag prices are too high. A Ronaldinho Goal bag is priced at Dh79.50 and Cinderella bag Dh65, while Spiderman will cost around Dh55.'

He further added, 'A Faber-Castell pack of 36 colour pencils is available for Dh26.50, while Acron's oil colours of 12 assorted tubes of 12ml each are priced at Dh12. The prices of all these have risen by Dh2-4 as compared to last year prices.'

'We opt for cheaper items as children spoil them soon and we have to buy the same several times in a year,' said Najeeba, a mother of two children.

anwar@khaleejtimes.com



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