Money Wellness
Image of a row of primary school children all in school uniform
category iconcost of living
category iconMoney Saver
calendar icon17 Aug 2023

Sainsbury’s named cheapest uniform retailer for 2023

In its annual comparison of school uniform retailers, consumer champion Which? has named Sainsbury’s the cheapest for 2023.

To find the winner, Which? compared a selection of essential school uniform items a 9 year old would need at eight popular supermarkets and clothing retailers, including:

  • Sainsbury’s
  • Morrisons
  • Tesco
  • Asda
  • John Lewis
  • Matalan
  • M&S
  • Next

Overall, TU Clothing – Sainbury’s clothing line – was the cheapest place to buy the items - two pinafore dresses, polo shirts, skirts, sweatshirts boys’ trousers and girls’ trousers – costing a total of £47.

Morrisons was just £1.95 more expensive, costing £48.95 in total. Its polo shirts come in bigger packs of three, so shoppers get more for their money. But even when Which? adjusted the price to two-thirds of the pack, Morrisons still finished second in the table overall.

Tesco also sells three polo shirts in a pack costing £7.50, but its place in the table was not changed when Which? factored in a ‘price for two’ equivalent.

Sainsbury’s had the cheapest items available in four of the uniform categories including polo shirts for £4 – joint with ASDA - sweatshirts for £3, boys’ trousers for £8 and girls’ trousers costing £9.

The cheapest pinafore dress and skirts were found at Morrisons, costing £10 and £8 each.

The most expensive place to buy uniform was Next where the items cost more than double the price of Sainsbury’s.

Aldi and Lidl both also sell cheap uniforms in-store, and each have a £5 uniform bundle deal. As these are ‘special buys’ and tend to sell out quickly, they were not included in the analysis.

 

Can’t afford uniform?

Are you worried about finding the money to buy uniform? Is uniform unaffordable to you? You’re not alone – 97% of the families we spoke to in a recent survey said they worried about being able to afford uniform.

Over half of these families (52%) said they had to make cutbacks to cover the cost of uniform, with 11% planning to use credit and a further 11% saying they’d have to rely on second-hand clothes passed on to them.

Uniform grants

School uniform grants are handed out to low-income families by their local council. They’re worth up to £150 per child but how much you get, and if you qualify, depends on where you live and your council’s criteria.

One council could offer nothing, another £30 and a third £150 because the government hasn’t set fixed rules.

How they’re paid also differs with some councils transferring money into your bank account, others reimbursing you once you’ve bought uniform or offering vouchers.

School uniform grants – if there’s one available to you – are typically offered to children who receive free school meals or whose parents claim means-tested benefits, such as universal credit.

However, they can sometimes also be offered to families who don’t receive school meals, providing they can prove they’re facing financial hardship.

If you’re eligible for a school uniform grant, you’ll be able to claim it for each child but will be restricted to claiming once every school year.

To find out what your local council is offering, visit their website. You can find your local council at www.gov.uk

Lots of charities also run their own grants to help struggling families with the cost of uniform. You can check out what support is available at www.educational-grants.org.

Avatar of Caroline Chell

Caroline Chell

Caroline has worked in financial communications for more than 10 years, writing content on subjects such as pensions, mortgages, loans and credit cards, as well as stockbroking and investment advice.

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