Department stores will lead the high street into full-blown summer Sales next week, dealing a hammer blow to indies, which have seen sales fall back significantly in May.
Selfridges, House of Fraser and Debenhams were all planning to hoist the discount banners as Drapers went to press, with Selfridges discounting a week earlier than last year on June 18 and Debenhams marking down in line with last year on June 17. HoF’s Sale is expected to start on June 16.
Indies were angered by the Sale dates, which they said appeared to get earlier every season. One boss of a premium indie said: “Department stores stock the same brands as us and because of the recession we now have no choice but to follow them.”
However, Carl Peddie, co-owner of Midlands-based premium indie mini chain Diffusion, said he was likely to stick to discounting at the end of the month. “It ties in better with payday weekend,” he said.
Department store discounting is likely to force some other multiples, especially those that have a department store concession operation, to launch Sales next week. Jaeger launched its Sale this week.
Hobbs chief executive Nicky Dulieu said: “We’ve decided to come forward a week and will go on Sale early next week.”
One mainstream womenswear firm’s boss echoed indie concerns: “We’ve [the high street] got ourselves into an incredibly difficult markdown cycle. It means it will be an incredibly long Sale process.”
Key Sale dates
House of Fraser Tuesday June 16
Debenhams Wednesday June 17
Selfridges Thursday June 18