January sales fever has struck and the red banners have been rolled out. Approach the highstreet or malls at your own risk. Or maybe you’re already shopped-out, for the ‘January’ sales are not what they used to be…
Using our Visual Merchandising tool, we looked into when retailers gave sales the green light and sent out their promotional emails. The results were quite surprising. First out of the starting blocks were French Connection on the 1st December with a generous 50% price slash. In the last 30 days they have dropped the prices on 1,307 products and have sold out of an impressive 670.
On the 5th December, H&M were the next to launch their sale newsletter. In comparison to French Connection’s 1,307 reductions, the H&M price drops were relatively small; 536 price drops in the 30 day period, with 1,809 new products arriving in the same time frame. Warehouse followed on the 6th December with a 40% sale newsletter. On the 29th this was increased to 75%. Their sale was even more cautious than H&M’s, with only 378 price drops, versus 826 new products. There 587 sold out products in that time frame.
Sportsgirl launched their vibrant sale newsletter on the 15th December (bear in mind this is still a key pre-Christmas shopping period when traditionally shoppers are still prepared to pay full price). They only reduced 413 products, compared to 1,134 new-in.
With such early discounting, it would be unsurprising if retailers were low on sale stock come the traditional January sales period. After a tough Autumn, and with customers more price-savvy than ever, retailers have been pushed into a difficult position in order to not be left with dead stock. Add to this the race to get the Spring trends in-store and the January shop floor takes a very different look to previous years.
Retailers opting for more traditional sale timing included Mr Porter and Zara who both sent their newsletters out on Boxing Day. Comfort for the traditionalists and a probable sign that they both enjoyed a buoyant run up to Christmas.
Come next Autumn it’s possible retailers won’t have experienced such a rough build-up to the festive period and won’t have the need to go into sale so early. Customers won’t have forgotten the bargains they scored this Christmas though, so retailers will have to think carefully about alternative promotions and offers to encourage spending.