Your browser is no longer supported. For the best experience of this website, please upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Sale frenzy alters the shopper psyche

I take my hat off to the indies polled for this week’s Indicator survey, who remain resolute that they won’t go into Sale before Christmas.

The high street’s resolve crumbled some time ago and one by one they’ve reached for the red pen and slashed their prices.

Debenhams is already on its third three-day spectacular, having barely come up for air in between each, since each three-day offer is often extended. And, having sent the nation into a frenzy with two 20%-off days, Marks & Spencer has slashed the prices of a number of its lines by up to 30%. Some retailers, of course, have gone on Sale by stealth with friends and family discount vouchers, while others have quietly marked
down stock. A number of other retailers have unashamedly gone into full Sale.

It is all entirely understandable of course. It would be very hard to sit back and watch shoppers walk past your door and into the next shop because that retailer is offering discounts. But I am fearful for what all this means for the long-term psyche of shoppers. Any January Sales there are will have lost their edge – all the good stock will be sold already – and how long into 2009 will it be until spring stock needs to be discounted before shoppers cave in and start buying that? It is a worry that the consumer is becoming accustomed to not paying full price for anything.

Retailers need to do what they need to do – and that means discounting – to get theirfair share of the Christmas spend but the markdowns can’t be sustainable in the long term. Come next year, retailers are going to have to think of more sophisticated ways of getting shoppers to part with their cash.

Lauretta Roberts Editor

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.