The Abilene Independent School District’s dress code requirements this year have negatively affected the business of local retailers in revenue and inventory.
For the 2014 – 2015 school year, the AISD has implemented a standardized dress code for the middle schools in the district. With the dress code change, the Abilene retailers need the inventory for the standardized dress requirements.
Though it is expected that, due to the small range of students needing standardized dress, revenue and inventory may not be highly affected, stores have needed to adjust their display since mid-July without sufficient planning time.
Local retailer Bealls suffered from the change due to the lack of communication from the AISD of what they needed.
“It didn’t go that well because we didn’t have the sizes we needed for the middle school,” said Stella Mena, manager at the Bealls on Grape Street (North Side). “They only sent us information for the elementary sizes. We got three to four cases we have been unable to sell.”
The AISD suggested a few major retailers from the Abilene area that will provide the standardized dress needed for the new dress code. The various stores ranged from Bealls to Dillards to Walmart to Old Navy.
The challenge for most retailers in the area is that the school district contacted them after stock for the year had been ordered, making it difficult on most retailers to purchase more and put it in store.
“We are doing our best to keep it in stock,” said Jesse Knowles, store manager of Old Navy. “It was really hard during back to school. When the school district went to uniforms, most retailers already had bought their stock.”
Though Old Navy will carry the clothing throughout the year and are recognized as a standardized uniform retailer, had AISD prepared for the dress code earlier, stores would have had an easier time getting the inventory.
Old Navy, among other retailers, will have more standardized dress inventory for the New Year and holiday season to prepare for more sales.
Despite the negative effect on those two local retailers, Walmart has been able to keep up with the uniform and has not seen as detrimental of an effect.
“We can’t give any figures out but I don’t know that I’ve seen an effect,” said Les Lott, store manager. “We were worried about it earlier during the year. We sell [the uniforms] in girls wear and boys wear and the departments haven’t been effected, but categories within might be down but overall the departments haven’t seen a change.”