UK sees record levels of pre-Christmas discounts - Deloitte

today Dec 18, 2018
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Discounting is at record levels in the UK ahead of Christmas as retailers are desperate to shift more autumn and party season inventory ahead of new product arriving next month.

Stores and webstores are running discounts of up to 50% well ahead of the traditional clearance period

Business services and research specialist Deloitte analysed 0.8 million products and said discounts currently average nearly 44% with a rise to 48% expected by Christmas Eve.

Interestingly though, while Boxing Day is the traditional kick-off for the clearance sale period, the level of discounts is predicted to hit an average of 52% from December 26. This means the markdowns won’t be massively different from those available before Christmas, potentially minimising the ‘must-buy’ urge consumers feel at this time of year.

Deloitte said that relatively mild weather during the autumn/winter season means inventory levels are very high at present. Consumers have clearly resisted buying traditional winter items such as boots, knits and coats and Superdry recently highlighted this issue when it delivered a profit warning. 

Deloitte also said that the markdowns stores have applied as a result of the weak AW18 season are spread "very wide" across the market.

It added that a selection of unique circumstances have conspired to further dent this year’s Christmas shopping season. 

Jason Gordon, Deloitte's lead consumer analytics partner, said: "In recent years consumers have come to expect retailers to heavily discount products in the lead-up [to the big day]. Christmas falling on a Tuesday, shorter Sunday opening hours and many choosing the weekend prior to Christmas to travel to friends or family will complicate the last few crucial days trading. This is why we expect retailers to ramp up their discounting earlier than normal in an attempt to clear stock.”

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