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Indies hold fire as chains jump into summer Sales

Independent retailers are holding fire on launching summer Sales early despite promotions spreading rapidly across the high street this week.

Department store chains House of Fraser and Selfridges launched their summer Sales this week, along with multiples including H&M and USC.

Luxury retailers Harrods, Harvey Nichols, Liberty and Matches also kicked off their Sales with savings of up to 50%. Debenhams is also advertising a 50% promotion, although a spokeswoman said this was not the retailer’s official summer Sale.

Indies told Drapers that despite this they would attempt to retain margin by selling at full price.

Chris Roche, owner of young fashion indie Ciren Jeans in Cirencester, said despite slow sales caused by bad weather he would remain at full price.

 “I’ve started to see the big etailers discounting heavily. That’s something brands need to look at if they want to keep their indies onside,” he added.

Henry Scott, assistant buyer and supervisor at young fashion indie Javelin, which has two stores in Suffolk, said savvy buying meant there was no need to ditch stock at lower prices.

He added: “The weather was undoubtedly a consideration when we were buying for this season. We cut down on the number of shorts and made sure we bought styles that would work for next season. It has definitely helped us in the long run.”

Denise Potter, owner of three-store Suffolk womenswear indie Darcy B, said despite summery items being difficult to shift in overcast weather, she would also hold firm. “We never go on Sale early. We try to match prices rather than reducing entire stock lines,” she said.

Readers' comments (7)

  • As an independent, I would advise any Indie to hold their nerve and sell at full price as much as possible. Even further, the best 'Sale' you can have is by not having one at all.

    This may seem far out, but your store doesn't get devalued and don't have to spend any extra money on marketing. Better to look after your customers and verbally reduce some items. The customer then thinks he is getting something that nobody else will.

    We haven't had a summer sale for years. Sales have a habit of attracting many of the wrong customers to your store of which the reductions will never be enough. Be brave and try a 'non-sale'. It will save you £££££'s.

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  • We took the decision 18 months ago to ditch any designer / supplier that sold to My Wardrobe as pop-up shop appeared from them nearby. People expected us to honour same discount shown but on stock they deemed preferable...

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  • Thierry BAYLE

    To protect your Brand value, it is advisable to delay going "on sale".
    However, one has to accept that a retailer who has rent or invoices to pay NOW may have to take action NOW.

    Thank you to Anonymous June 14, I advice my clients that if you do not go "on sale" then make sure you give special deals on a one to one marketing with customers in the shop. If you need cash now and survival is at stake then you need to take action.

    More generally I agree that you may need to give discounts to clear excess stock but you may not need to go "on sale ".
    Give a verbal discount.
    I would also add that if all your competitors in the neighbourhood are on sale, you may need to put at least a rail on sale JUST to get the customers in.

    Feel free to request other ideas we can share.

    Thierry Bayle -

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  • Thierry BAYLE

    I forgot to also say
    Why do we have excess stock to clear?
    *Weather which is playing against us
    *Sales forecasting which is not accurate enough / absence of an open to buy plan to ensure we have the right quantity of goods coming at the right time
    *Lack of reports to identify understocked or overstocked product classifications and
    *Absence of action every 2 weeks (max every month for a small indie) to turn slow moving items into CASH



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  • these people advocating not having sales must be either
    1 very small
    2 own the property they trade from
    3 in the outer Hebrides
    4 not stock brands,,as the whole High street is nearly all on sale
    5 not on line,competition is fierce
    6 Rich

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  • Thierry BAYLE

    Thanks for the last comment. I wish to bounce back on an important point.

    2.own the property they trade from

    We believe that if you can't measure it, you can't fix it!
    We see many balance sheets and profit and loss account and some people state they are profitable and they are "happy " with it. However when you look deep inside the rent is not reflected as a real market value because they own the property.
    The same happens with the forgotten salary the owner is not taking.

    This is why we always recommend you do a break even analysis of the business including a real figure for rent and salary.
    Then you will align your buying and sales forecasting on a business which will really need to make money.
    At least, that is the way we help our clients.

    Enjoy the week end.


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  • darren hoggett

    Many retailers are like sheep, they go on sale because everyone else does, thinking it is the 'right thing to do'. The vast majority of customers do not purchase an item because it is 'on sale', they purchase is because it just happens to be. The retailer has then lost important margin as a result when it wasn't necessary.

    We have a 21 day Sale after Xmas and no more. Not going on Sale in the rest of the year has no adverse affect. Infact, the reverse can be said, as customers get totally sick and tired of seeing Sale items whether in store or online. The brands know that we won't devalue a brands image by constant discounting and endless sale periods. As previous posters have said, there are better ways to look after your customers and we are no different.

    While some stores may benefit by being on sale, in general terms, it is something that does not need to be done.

    Darren Hoggett
    Co-owner J&B Menswear Limited/Norwich

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