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Stores go on Sale in blink of an eye

Retailers and the public conclude each year in the time-honoured tradition of staring each other down on Christmas trading to see who will blink first.

This year, once again, it has been the retailers that have made the first move. If they haven’t gone on full Sale (which many have), they have been offering a plethora of festive promotions or markdowns to lure shoppers from their armchairs and into the stores.

Part of me wonders, given that we have followed this same pattern for the past few years, whether shoppers now know that the retailers will cave in and quite enjoy making them sweat. Some retail-watchers have suggested as much. A few have even gone as far as to suggest that retailers know that shoppers are playing with them and, despite expressing fears of the worst Christmas since time began every year, they know it will all turn out OK in the end.

However, that is easy for someone to say who has not experienced a winter of low sales and no bankable trends for spring. Yes, I know that retailers cried wolf last year, but this year there are several new factors in play that would set even the steeliest nerves a-jangling like a set of sleigh bells.

For starters, there is the credit crunch and slipping house prices, as well as a year of abysmal weather. Still, I have read some reports that suggest that Christmas is going to turn out OK once again. We can but hope it’s true.

Whatever happens, Drapers hopes that all of you have a very Merry Christmas and a successful 2008. To relive some of the highs and lows of what has been a vintage year in fashion, see our Review of the Year.

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