Indies are holding out until Boxing Day to go on Sale, despite pressures from big chain stores that slash prices in the run up to Christmas.
Smaller businesses are relying on pre-Christmas events and promotions to attract festive shoppers on the lookout for a bargain.
Dave Conaghan, co-owner of Derry-based Chocolate Clothing, said: “We are planning to hold a discount night in the store where we will invite our regular customers and have a DJ. It will be like a Christmas party in the store for one night only. We keep it very exclusive and a kind of VIP experience.”
Grace Barby, owner of Wolverhampton-based Grace and Glory, also favours promotional parties to going on Sale early. She is planning a champagne event in early November to attract customers.
“We call it a fizz and fashion Sale, so they can have a drink and get some discounted items,” she explained. “I don’t feel like I need to go on Sale before Christmas. It’s not like I’m next door to a Topshop or a Next so we can do what we want.”
Andrew Maloney, owner of Eton Clothing, argued good service and customer loyalty would do more long-term than discounting stock.
“We’ll not be going on Sale early,” he told Drapers. “The principle reason is that we’re in the higher end of the market and I think it devalues the product.”
Chris Roche, owner of Ciren Jeans, agreed. “Customer service is the one thing indies can do very well. I think some chain stores are better than others but some really lack in customer service.”
Some shops are going a step further and refusing to do sales at all.
Maggie Sibbald, owner of Maxine De Paris Lingerie, said: “I don’t do sales. I would rather sell old stock on eBay. I don’t know the point in spending time in store and not making any money. I definitely feel the pressure from larger chains to do sales but I won’t do it.”