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Retailers bring forward summer Sales

Several high street multiples have brought forward their summer Sales, and are blaming poor weather and tough year-on-year comparisons for discounts of up to 50%.

Phase Eight, Hobbs, New Look, John Lewis and Matchesfashion are currently offering up to 50% discounts. Marks & Spencer, Fat Face and White Stuff are among those resisting the temptation of the premature promotions.

“We’re not expecting to do as well this year,” said Oliver Tress, chief executive of lifestyle brand Oliver Bonas. “Last year we had a very hot May, which we didn’t get this year.”

One womenswear executive agreed: “We have entered our main Sale a week earlier than last year. May last year was a record month because of the long winter and pent-up shopping.”

Another high street retailer agreed that lethargic sales were resulting in early discounting: “We have seen some brands in our peer group pull their Sales forward. This is largely because it has been a relatively slow spring in comparison with last year, and certain brands are tweaking markdown plans to reflect it.”

However, one footwear executive blamed a domino effect for the discounting across the sector: “It is very reliant on your competition. If somebody breaks ranks early, then they capture that spend and you have to drop prices to compete.”

He added: “Seasonal stock is not churning at the rate we’d like it to, and we don’t want to carry it into autumn – the reality is once you get into the second week of July, that’s pretty much your whole season over. We have entered Sale in the same period as we did last year, but have increased our markdowns.”



Readers' comments (2)

  • darren hoggett

    It's totally bizarre how some retailers act. Last year was out of character with traditional weather patterns for the U.K, but usually our summers happen later more often than not. So when consumers do want to spend, you find many are discounting when they do not need to.

    Shops are continually getting product in too early when there is little demand from the consumer and likewise will be complaining that they cannot sell heavier items in September when it is 25º outside.

    There needs to be a complete overhaul of the way business is done, because it seems that management and buying teams are still stuck with buying around 1970's/80's weather patterns and therefore are not having the right product in their stores at the right time. Summer does not end in July, and the typical consumer would laugh in your face at such absurdity.

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  • I totally agree with Darren, summer hasn't started yet, June is still spring, July, August and September is our summer now. Why does the industry wake up to this fact.
    With some companies is going on sale on 1st June, what message does that send to the consumer.

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