The business press is alive with debate at the moment about whether all these pre-holiday sales are a good thing or not. As a consumer, I’ve certainly noticed great swathes of sale rails that I’ve not seen in December in previous years (and very tempting they are too) and it’s hard to see how retailers are going to improve on the offers come Boxing Day, without making serious dents in their profit margins.
According to the sceptics, the relentless boom in online shopping has pressured high street stores into offering almost constant discounts, resulting in pre-Christmas bargains that might not be sustainable over the coming years. All these frequent sale periods have taught shoppers, they say, is that buying full-price items is unnecessary, as another sale will be along in a minute.
The more optimistic among us say that in fact, the more regular sales - and the relative flop that was this year’s Black Friday in the UK - are becoming less alluring for consumers because of a lack of genuine quality in the offers. Therefore, some retailers have seen an increase in public spend this Christmas, suggesting that shoppers are now saving their money for the festive run-up and the ‘proper’ New Year sales.
British shoppers are expected to spend £16billion on Christmas gifts this year, an increase of 1.3% on the same period in 2014. Sounds like good news for the high street and retailers in general, but we’ll be interested to hear how your business fared and whether your Christmas wishes were granted.
In the meantime, the team at South East Business would like to wish all our readers a very merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year.