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High street discounts reach new high, PwC research shows

The UK has seen record high numbers of retailers on Sale this summer, marking the fifth increase in as many years.

Research carried out by PricewaterhouseCooper found that 75% of high street retailers were on Sale or advertising promotions in their shop window in the week to Friday June 21.

This is the fifth year in a row that there has been an increase in the amount of promotional activity on the high street, although it appears now to be plateauing.

In 2009, 40% of retailers were on Sale in the equivalent week, rising to 60% in 2010 and 70% in 2011.

In 2012 73% of retailers offered some form of discount, with this year reaching a peak of 75%.

The average price discounts being advertised were 47%, the same as last year - and up slightly from 45% in 2011 and 2010.

Christine Cross, chief retail adviser to PwC, said the research showed that “this year just continues the trend” of earlier Sales and deeper discounting, suggesting it was not in response to current bad weather.

Instead, she said online was affecting consumers’ seasonal buying cycles.

“Autumn lines have been previewed since early May and the ability to reserve ahead is commonplace,” she said. “For the British fashion buyer there are two options - buy ahead and get your pick of the trends, or wait and get a bargain.”

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