Nearly three-quarters of the high street stores have resorted to early summer Sales to boost spending, according to consultancy firm PwC.
The research, released today (June 27), found that 70% of high street stores are either running a sale or have promotions, such as three for two. This compares with 60% last summer and 40% in 2009.
Fashion retailers across the board have felt under increasing pressure to go Sale early this year after Debenhams and House of Fraser launch their sales on June 9, although early indications suggest the move is not helping to drive footfall or sales.
PwC said the warm weather and the feel-good factor around the Royal Wedding in late April and early May has boosted sales, but it added that the cooler wet weather during June reminded consumers of the gloomy economy leading to a drop in sales. The average retailers offered discounts of 45%, the same as in 2010.
Figures from BDO Stoy Hayward, published last week, showed clothing sales fell 1% on a like-for-like basis for the week to June 19. Compounding concerns were results showing a sales decline of 1.3% at Debenhams and House of Fraser in spite of both stores’ week-early sales.
Christine Cross, chief retailer advisor to PwC, said: “Changing purchasing patterns and the ability to see next season already online means that consumers may decide to hold off purchases, rather than buy at full price for the current season.”
She said the changes pointed to a worrying return to 2008 consumer behaviour which saw more people turning to the web to find bargains.