School uniform stores in Ludhiana struggling to stay afloat
Even though private schools reopened 50 days ago for students of Classes 9 to 12, the sale of school uniforms is yet to pick up pace.
Some uniform sellers said that 90% of their business comes from students of nursery to Class 8. But, as schools are closed for these classes, they have been unable to clear even the old stock from last winter.
Amid the Covid pandemic and subsequent lockdown, uniform dealers faced a cash crunch in 2020, and said that this was the worst year for them financially.
Many of them said that if this continues, it will become difficult for them to pay for fixed costs, including rent and salaries for employees.
Vipin Aggarwal, owner of Evershine School Uniform, Mall road, said, “Reopening of schools has not helped uniform dealers revive their business. Before the lockdown, I had 14 employees in my shop, and now there are only three.”
The shops are stocked with winter uniforms, and shelves laden with sweaters, shirts, trousers, coats, ties and belts of different schools, but customers are not turning up.
“Our sales are down by 90%. This year, we have placed no new orders, as unsold stock has piled up. I had 600 employees before lockdown, and during the peak season, it reaches 1,000. But, due to the pandemic, we just have 20 people now,” said Nilesh Aggarwal of Dressco School Uniform, Mali Ganj, the oldest uniform manufacturer in the district. Aggarwal’s family has been in the business since 1973.