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Move far from the madding Sales crowd

If the high street insists on ever-more frequent Sales which undervalue product and encourage consumers into a “wait-for-a-Sale-mentality”, we may as well shut up shop because no one wins except the consumer and our industry will financially implode.

Instead of this fiasco, big players with confidence in their product and customer base, such as Topshop, Harvey Nichols, Liberty and Marks & Spencer, could set the Sale trend.

At the moment in the UK, the summer Sale period starts on August 1, while the winter Sale starts from December 28 or 29.
This gives a five-month gap between the Sales starting, with the five-month period including the Christmas trading period.

Adopting and adhering to this Sale pattern would mean we would have a longer period in which to sell our spring/summer stock and the Christmas period would ensure a full margin. I always despair when I see retailers going on Sale before Christmas. People need presents under the Christmas tree – fact.

The likes of Chanel and Jigsaw make powerful statements by holding off from an early Sale and going in later, more in line with the weather. This is fantastic psychology, making consumers want the product and brand even more.

It takes confidence, nerve and good cash flow to buck the trend, but other retailers should aspire to be in this select group and follow. Our summer and warm weather has started late this year, so this could be the year to kick-start later Sales. So I appeal to Sir Philip Green, Joseph Wan, Sir Stuart Rose, Sir Paul Smith and other movers-and-shakers to take the lead.

Jan Shutt is the owner of womenswear independent Sunday Best in Rawtenstall, Lancashire

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