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Retailers wage Sales war

High street retailers including department stores Debenhams and House of Fraser launched discount promotions this week, while John Lewis cut its prices
to match.

Debenhams unveiled a four-day 25%-off New Season Spectacular Sale on all its new-season stock on Wednesday. Its deputy chief executive Michael Sharp said: “When times are hard we have a duty to give customers better value than ever.”

House of Fraser launched a five-day Sale with discounts of up to 25% on selected lines. House of Fraser insisted that its promotion was planned and not a reaction to Debenhams’ event.
John Lewis lowered prices in response to the discounting, as part of its price-match policy.

Marks & Spencer was offering discounts on some women’s jeans and buy-one-get-one-half-price deals on men’s luxury shirts, as well as a regular ‘Deal of the Day’ promotion on its website.

Pali International retail analyst Nick Bubb said: “The discounts could be to fill the gap because of the lateness of Easter and Mother’s Day this year. It is difficult to separate that from the underlying sales trend, but generally retailers seem to be disappointed with trade. The danger is that it is playing into the hands of consumers who don’t want to pay full price.”

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