RIYADH: Parents in Saudi Arabia will spend millions of dollars on back-to-school shopping, according to retail analysts and market leaders.
“Back-to-school is a major shopping event, and a sizeable amount is spent on school uniforms, shoes, books and other accessories,” Khaled Al-Ghanem, owner of the Al-Samran Stationery Store in Riyadh, told Arab News.
Al-Ghanem said that “most hypermarkets, supermarkets, bookshops and stationery outlets have geared up to cater to the needs of students and parents.”
Supermarkets as well as stationery outlets have substantial stocks of school uniforms, books and other accessories for students, he said.
“As classes start up, shoppers are still not done with back-to-school shopping, which will continue the whole week,” said Jameel Hamdan, owner of a school uniform store, here. He said that “school supplies and stationery retail sectors are reporting upswing in their sales for the last seven days.”
Most of the hypermarkets, school uniform stores and stationery shops including Lulu Hypermarket, Othaim Hyprmarket, Carrefour and Jarir Bookstore have launched their back-to-school range in stores. School supplies on promotional prices include school uniforms, backpack trolley bags, study tables, pencil cases, water bottles and lunch bags.
“A school uniform will cost between SR50 ($15) to SR200, but customers like to buy multipacks of each item at a bargain price,” said Saleem Khan, a Pakistani school uniform salesman.
Saleh Al-Nasser, a parent, who bought school supplies for his two children on Saturday, said: “Even smaller stationery shops are offering a wide range of back-to-school supplies at discount prices.”
Parents are spending more money now because many schools have a long list of requirements for students, he said.
Nada Al-Saeed, a senior class student at Al-Manarat School, said that she is “happy to go back to school after a long summer break.”
Al-Saeed said her first few days back at school will be devoted to socializing with classmates.
“Going back to school will be monotonous for few days after a long vacation in Pakistan,” said Moonis Raza, a primary student at Pakistan International School.
Raza said he dislikes carrying heavy bags of books to school each day. In fact, research has also shown that carrying heavy school bags can adversely affect students’ health.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recommends students’ bags weigh no more than 10 percent of their body weight. Many students struggle to carry larger school bags without help from their parents.

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