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Indies feel pain of discounting fever

Jessica Brown

August sales have been a washout and the bank holiday weekend doesn’t look like being much better, unless you’ve joined the host of multiples offering discounts of up to a whopping 70%.

The forecast for a sunny weekend is likely to send consumers into their gardens rather than to shopping centres or the high street, but just how desperate are you?

The true impact of the “Blue Cross Mega-day Summer Spectacular” that has come to define the high street in the past 12 months on indies became clear this week – fashion indies had 0.6% of their market share eroded in the three months to June 21 (see p3), almost totally due to department stores’ aggressive discounting.

It’s sad to see the indies lose out so badly when they continue to offer shoppers a unique proposition and outstanding customer service.

There can be very little cost left to draw out of most retail businesses and with price at the forefront of most shoppers’ minds, the businesses that do well will be those that come up with innovative marketing or promotional solutions.

No indie can afford (in more ways than one) a 70% discount blitz over a weekend, but look outside of the fashion and even retail industries and there are some inspiring incentive deals that fashion businesses could adopt.

What added extras can you offer to set you apart? Can you bundle up outfits into special one-price deals to minimise the impact on margin? Can you offer lifetime shoe repairs?

Speaking of footwear, Drapers hopes you enjoy this Footwear & Accessories Special, the last of our seasonal issues for spring 10.

  • Jessica Brown Editor

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