Boots enters schoolwear with Junio range launch

Boots aims for top marks in the£1 billion race to kit out the nation's schoolkids, with the launch of exclusive schoolwear line Junio.

The initiative is part of chief executive Richard Baker's strategy to boost the children's offer and better serve the legion of mums who are loyal shoppers.

'We want to be a one-stop-shop for mums, and that extends to health, beauty and lifestyle,' said a spokesman.

At the moment, Boots caters only for tots, with its Mini Mode range by Adams. Junio, also created by Adams, is for children up to age 12.

Junio is being piloted in 30 shops. Entry price points include trousers for£8, skirts for£6 and a polo-shirt twin pack for£6. Boots is also bringing trendy US clothing brand OshKosh to a wider audience, stocking it in 42 stores.

Boots is competing with Woolworth's 'buy three, get the cheapest free' deal, by running a three-for-two promotion on Junio until the end of September.

Verdict senior retail analyst Maureen Hinton said price competition in the schoolwear market has intensified, and value players such as George at Asda have emerged as winners. Woolies has slashed schoolwear prices by 10 per cent and Debenhams by 20 per cent.

John Lewis Partnership has also upped the ante, selling uniforms in John Lewis, Waitrose and on this year. A JLP spokeswoman said sales last week in Scotland - where the term starts earlier - were up 23 per cent year on year. Overall sales were up 9.1 per cent.