The OFT has published a report on the UK school uniform market following a fact-finding review. The analysis sought to establish the degree to which schools may be restricting competition in the supply of uniforms by entering into exclusive contracts with retailers. The restrictive effects of only selling the uniforms at the schools were furthermore considered. 82% of all state schools specify a uniform of some form that pupils must wear. Of these, 84% were found to impose restrictions on the choice of supplier for at least one item of that uniform. Exclusive outfits are on average 23% more expensive than from general retailers. The findings of the study will be passed to the Department for Education and Skills, which provides guidance to state schools in England on their uniform policies. The Welsh Assembly and the Scottish Executive issue their own guidance on uniforms.
Exclusive contracts lead to higher prices for school uniforms