Some of the UK’s biggest retailers launched their Christmas campaigns this week as the high street prepares to battle over what is hoped to be the best festive sales period since 2007.
Marks & Spencer, John Lewis and Debenhams were among those to launch their TV advertising campaigns this week. M&S has taken a fairytale-inspired approach to its integrated campaign, featuring 72 general merchandise items. John Lewis spent £7m on its animated woodland advert and Debenhams was hoping to replicate last year’s record-breaking success by emphasising its exclusive designer collaborations.
Topshop launched its first global and fully-integrated Christmas campaign on Pinterest this week, with the social media site linking to the retailer’s website and staff in stores wearing Pinterest T-shirts and showing the ads to shoppers on iPads.
British luxury brand Burberry also launched its festive campaign, Burberry With Love, this week. The brand has described the ads as its “most cross-functional”, and is hosting festive activities including ’25 days of Christmas’, a programme of images and videos on Instagram.
The ads were rolled out in the week that sees 15% of consumers start their Christmas shop, according to research by customer experience management firm SDL.
However, retailers may have to hold their nerve until the last minute, with research company Verdict Retail predicting that December 23 will become ‘Mad Monday’ as click-and-collect shoppers head to stores to pick up final purchases.
Several retailers told Drapers they expected Christmas sales to come later than usual this year. House of Fraser chairman Don McCarthy said: “Christmas will probably come late, but with intensity. We need some extremely cold weather – a little sun, not too much rain – and then they’ll be out shopping.”
M&S chief executive Marc Bolland is also pinning his hopes on cold weather, saying the retailer was “well set up for the Christmas collection, with good stock levels, good availability”.
Colin Temple, managing director of footwear retailer Schuh, said the fact online orders for pre-Christmas delivery could be accepted up to Sunday December 22 “could be meaningful”.
Nick Lowe, chief executive of logistics firm Dachser, said he was expecting “a lull” in deliveries from suppliers to retailers in early December after an anticipated spike in November.
With Christmas Day falling in the middle of the week, Lowe said “the pressure would be on” to get last-minute stock into stores on December 23.
Verdict forecasts consumers will spend £88.4bn in the fourth quarter of this year – a £1.95bn rise in spend – the majority of which (3.84%) is expected to be on food, with health and beauty the second-biggest category, and clothing and footwear the third (3.15%).