Companies

Booksellers, uniform dealers feel heat of longer schools break

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Education Cabinet secretary George Magoha. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • Booksellers and uniform dealers face uncertain times on dwindling sales and revenues after the school reopening dates were moved to January.
  • The postponement announced last week portends a further dip in sales, which have been on a downward trajectory since March when the State shut learning institutions to combat the spread of Covid-19.
  • Education Cabinet secretary George Magoha said all basic learning institutions would reopen in January, dimming hopes of business recovery for the book and uniform traders.

Booksellers and uniform dealers face uncertain times on dwindling sales and revenues after the school reopening dates were moved to January.

The postponement announced last week portends a further dip in sales, which have been on a downward trajectory since March when the State shut learning institutions to combat the spread of Covid-19.

Education Cabinet secretary George Magoha said all basic learning institutions would reopen in January, dimming hopes of business recovery for the book and uniform traders.

“We were hoping to make sales from uniform replacements starting August but the date reviews mean we remain stuck with unmoving stock,” said Kanti Haria, partner at Uniform Outfitters.

He says there are hardly any customers at the 90-year old outlet along Muindi Mbingu Street in Nairobi, pulling sales down 54 per cent.

Paying salaries for the 75 employees is proving difficult. Negotiations for a pay cut and retrenchment with the worker’s union are ongoing.

Mr Haria said the only other time business was this bad was during the 1982 coup.

Brian Atigara, proprietor of Ungwaro School Outfitters that serves Lavington, Kileleshwa and Kawangware in Nairobi, said he had not sold a single uniform since March when the schools closed.

Savani’s Bookshop has recorded a 90 per cent drop in sales since the State imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew and shut schools.

“To survive, management is considering diversifying the business by expanding the portfolio and pushing sales through e-commerce,” Munoru Rhoney, sales representatives at Savani’s.