Don’t say the S-word. That’s ‘snow’ or ‘Sale’ in case you missed the deep freeze that has been the UK’s high streets of late
Don’t say the S-word. That’s ‘snow’ or ‘Sale’ in case you missed the deep freeze that has been the UK’s high streets of late. After two weeks of below-freezing temperatures retailers are now in crisis over how to win back the millions of pounds of revenue already lost from the crucial pre-Christmas sales period.
The retailers Drapers spoke to this week admitted this weekend was now “critical” to how their Christmas season would play out. Some have already called urgent meetings to debate whether or not to accelerate markdowns early in an effort to drive footfall and begin clearing stock before it’s too late. But “we won’t be going on Sale early”, said most. “We’ll just do some extra promotions.”
The reality is that 25%-off discounts and the like are, for want of a better word, a Sale (Promotion? Sale? What’s the difference?). But retailers can’t afford for that notion to get into the psyche of consumers (or the headlines of the national press) right now. They must weigh up carefully whether it is better to sacrifice a little margin early to stimulate immediate demand rather than paying the price in a lot more profit at a later date, probably from the Boxing Day Sales.
November trading figures from the British Retail Consortium did nothing to warm the outlook either, after it reported that womenswear sales had fallen to below the levels of last year. That’s pretty astonishing given the rate at which retailers have been selling outerwear this autumn. Turn to p3 for the lowdown on the categories and trends that are to blame - it makes interesting reading. Meanwhile, menswear and kidswear motored ahead, while smug footwear retailers sat back watching their sales uplifts tick well into double digits as the snowflakes continued to fall. Thank heavens for Uggs and wellington boots.
Jessica Brown Editor