School Shops FAQ

Who makes the profits?

The primary object of the Shop is not profit but rather a service to parents, staff and boys. The Shop runs at a reasonable profit to ensure sustainability, continuity of service and a convenience when purchasing school uniform and related goods. Profits made by The Shop are retained to allow the funding of stock and improvements. A 25% share of profits is allocated to the Bishops Bursary Fund annually.

Who owns the stock and who pays the Staff?

The Shop owns the stock, currently about R2.8 million spread over a range of approximately 19 000 items. The Bishops Shop pays the Staff. Jodie, Jerome and Melony are employed full time and other temporary staff are employed at peak periods.

Who controls the pricing of items?

In line with the Annual Financial Statements of The Shop the annual gross profit margin is regulated and monitored by the Bishops Business Manager. The second control mechanism is that The Shop is required to provide Bishops with selling price comparisons on a regular basis. A file with the pricing comparisons is kept and is reviewed by Bishops from time to time. The most recent comparisons are, as usual, very favourable and this information is kept by the Bishops Business Manager should there ever be a price query.

What about uniform and kit for tours?

All uniform and branded items for all school tours must be sourced through the shop. The Shop is happy that alternative quotations are obtained and will better or at worst case meet such quotations on a like-for-like basis.

What is the policy for sponsored items?

All proposed items must be sanctioned by the Bishops Executive in the first instance, whether normal uniform, other items or sponsored kit for tours etc.

Sponsorship of certain items is allowed and in all instances must go through the School Shop, as the Shop is the preffered outlet - in this way, we have certainty that the Bishops Brand is properly controlled. The following are guide lines:

  • The school must sanction the items involved, in writing and inform the Shop. Without this step nothing can happen.
  • If an item is to be sponsored, or part-sponsored, the sponsor concerned must liaise with the School Shop. The Shop should get the school’s approval of the design and use of the Bishops Brand. Thereafter, the Shop and the Sponsor should agree on a manufacturer, order the items at the agreed price and set the selling price (if any). Payment to the manufacturer will be made by the School Shop, who in turn will recover from the sponsor or the school if the funds have been paid to the school. The School Shop is mandated to encourage and work closely with any willing sponsor – even for no monetary gain, if that is a particular condition of sponsorship. We are certain that in this way Bishops has control of its brand.

How does the school monitor the quality of the product supplied?

The Bishops Business Manager meets regularly with the School Shop Management to discuss such matters. We are fully informed of any difficulties which the Shop may encounter in sourcing and supplying the required goods. We know how difficult the clothing and textile industry is, particularly in the current economic climate. There are, on occasions, shortages and instances of poor quality, but we believe no different from other such clothing outlets. The Shop does its level best to provide the best possible quality at a reasonable price. Some of the difficulties are regrettably caused by Bishops when the Shop is given inadequate notice of an order to be sourced and fulfilled, or inaccurate information on sizing.

How does the Shop place its regular orders for normal school uniform?

Each quarter, a Planning and Procurement meeting is held. In placing of bulk stock orders, detailed analysis is made of the sales history information provided by the POS system in use at the Shop. Whilst every effort is made to cover requirements of these orders, storage space available to the Shop is very limited. Top up orders are made as stock levels dwindle in certain sizes. A major difficulty is exact size trending and forecasting in catering for over 1350 pupils from age 5 to 18. We encourage all to be aware of the challenges in this regard. Whilst a 100% stock record is the ideal, in reality one cannot expect The Shop to have everything, in every size, in stock at all times.

How does the Shop and Bishops monitor the quality of service provided in the shop by the Staff?

This is a vexed question in that the Staff in the shop are often subjected to problems beyond their control. We have heard many compliments as to how they manage; there have also been complaints, usually arising from an out-of-stock frustration, damage to an item, or a fabric defect. There are also times of great pressure, particularly at the beginning of term and changes of season. We know that the Shop places huge emphasis on customer service and customer care, including patience, helpful responses and a friendly atmosphere. In turn we respectfully ask that customers are aware of the pressures and at all times display respect and appreciation for what is sometimes a very difficult and thankless task. We regret to have received occasionally complaints from the Shop staff about instances of a lack of courtesy from parents, staff and boys.

How best to communicate with the School Shop ?

You are always welcome to express your thoughts about any matter directly to the Shop staff; to assist, there is a suggestions/complaints/compliments book in the School Shop. If no response (or an unsatisfactory follow-up) follows an entry in this book, we welcome direct communication through email or a request for a meeting.

The best emails to use are: