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Retailers sell clothes at half price in huge pre-Christmas discounts | Life and style


Retailers are offering bigger than ever pre-Christmas clothing discounts this year in an effort to win customers against a backdrop of consumer uncertainty, heavy competition and relatively mild weather.

Average price cuts could top 50% by Christmas Eve for the first time according to the advisory firm Deloitte, which analysed more than 800,000 online and in-store products.

Jason Gordon, the lead consumer analytics partner at Deloitte, said: “Retailers have faced a challenging year, as consumer confidence has continued to fall amid macroeconomic uncertainties. In addition, the introduction of Black Friday in recent years means consumers have also come to expect an increasing amount of pre-Christmas discounting. The result is a blending of promotions, one seeping into the next, and a steady price decline rather than a steep Boxing Day drop.

“With one shopping weekend left before Christmas, this week could see a tipping point in promotions.”

Retailers are partly being forced into discounting by the aftermath of the US-inspired discount day Black Friday. The promotional event is now a two-week affair in the UK running from late November, drawing forward purchases that would previously have been made at full price closer to Christmas. This year there was a lull in shopping in mid-December, with the number of visitors to high streets, retail parks and shopping centres down 5% year on year last week, according to the shopper monitoring firm Springboard.

The pain on the high street is evident with discounts of up to 50% at Debenhams, Hobbs, Miss Selfridge, Wallis, Burton, Oasis and Robert Dyas; up to 40% off at Topshop, Marks & Spencer, River Island, Jigsaw and Ted Baker and 30% discounts at House of Fraser and Peacocks. Online retailers were also joining in the price cutting with 80% off everything at Boohoo, 70% cuts at Missguided and up to 50% discounts at Asos.

High street trading has not only been hit by uncertainty around Brexit and the general election but also by the consumer switch to online spending. As more retailers offer quick delivery services, shoppers have become increasingly willing to buy online much closer to Christmas.

Gordon said online shopping would continue to affect retail trends over the festive period.

“We anticipate many Boxing Day discounts to go live online on Christmas Day itself, those browsing perhaps buying the one present they didn’t receive. On the physical high street, though, Boxing Day promotions could arrive even earlier. The operational challenges that sales present in-store mean some retailers could be offering Boxing Day sale prices on Christmas Eve, for those willing to hit the shops early.”



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