CONSUMERS have been encouraged to shop smart for back-to-school supplies after the Consumer Council found competitive prices at various supermarkets.
The council said school shopping should not be confined to traditional bookshops and stationery stores.
The council recently carried out surveys and market surveillance over the past week and found prices of some exercise book were cheaper in some supermarkets compared to bookshops and stationery outlets.
Council chief executive officer, Premila Kumar said this would help parents and consumers stretch their hard earned dollars.
"For instance, Oxford IB5 100pp exercise book was priced at $0.93 at RB Patel in Suva while prices at Pacific Bookshop, Courts and Post Fiji were $1.40, $1.16 and $1.15 respectively. Shop n Save in Nabua was selling the same book for $0.95," Mrs Kumar said in a statement.
She said Rups Big Bear's own brand of exercise books were generally cheaper than other brands but the retail chain exclusively sold its own brand.
"The council's price survey also highlighted that Post Fiji was selling imported Oxford exercise books at a lower price compared to locally produced iVola exercise books despite an increase in fiscal duty on imported exercise books from 15 per cent to 32 per cent," she said.
"As the council has found that prices in supermarkets are generally lower, it is advising parents to consider doing their exercise book shopping together with grocery shopping."
She said most urban centres and retail outlets selling exercise books were within walking distance.
"This makes it convenient for consumers to simply walk across and check prices for at least three outlets.
"Many outlets selling exercise books are providing book details and price lists on in-store posters.
"One retail outlet — Sky Glory in Suva provides a flyer for one brand that shoppers can easily take with them to compare prices with other stores."