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Stores forced into early discounting

Retailers across the high street are banking on Sale events, ‘stealth promotions’ and selective price reductions to hook Christmas shoppers, after this week’s 2.5% VAT cut failed to set the tills alight.

Department store chain Debenhams launched a three-day Sale with up to 20% off while Marks & Spencer started its second one-day Sale on Thursday.

Separately, a host of retailers launched ‘friends and family’ discounts (see below).

House of Fraser unveiled a five-day ‘friends and family’ promotion this week with up to 20% off, and implemented the VAT cut on Monday. Brand director Matt Chambers said: “Trading is tough. There are big discounts across the high street so 2.5% will have little or no impact. People are spending but across the sector volume is decreasing and average prices are decreasing.”

One branded young fashion chain boss also said the VAT cut had not boosted sales. “We’ve been more impacted by all the partywear discounting,” he said.

The chief executive of one footwear retailer said he felt under increasing pressure to go to Sale. He said: “Whether we can hang on much longer without discounting we’ll have to wait and see.”

What’s on offer?
Adams Kids 20% off
Aldo 10% off
American Apparel 15% off
Brantano 25% off
Burton 10% off
Figleaves £10 gift card
H&M 20% off
House of Fraser 20% off
Monsoon 30% off
New Look 20% off
Pringle of Scotland 40% off
Warehouse 20% off

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