Why Discounting Will Kill The High Street!

When did retailers really start to change their customers’ attitudes to discounting? From my memory it really started to take effect around 10 years ago. Discounting used to be primarily used at sale time to get rid of stock, FULL STOP. Much more prevalently in the last 6 years, discounting has become the main structure of the selling season. Large retailers have slowly changed their buying processes so now they are squeezing extra collections into the season, this allows mid season sales at least 3 times during the season.

So now AW stock comes into the shops in July and by early Sept we’re already into the first mid season sale, and it goes downhill from there.

As we can now see from the sales figures this year, up to 45% of the shop floor is sale goods, and it remains like this for the majority of the season. Sales start May and continue all through the summer trading period. For smaller retailers that hold similar brands to the larger stores, this means that they cannot compete in this market place and consequently close down. Hence our towns and shopping streets are diminishing completely – and all that’s left are large chains, charity and betting shops as well as supermarkets, GREAT..

I remember when I decided to start my business, my family tried to persuade me not to design my own collection, but instead to buy in fashion and retail like everyone else. One of my arguments and there were plenty, was that I did not want to be dictated as to when I could or would sale in my shop. I was brought up to know that sales were only about reducing stock to make way for the new season’s collection and therefore traditionally sales were July/Aug and Jan/Feb.

I have to say that I have stuck by my beliefs and we always go into Sale in those chosen months. We change over our showrooms towards the end of August and the end of February, and my clients appreciate that the clothes they buy at the beginning of the season will not go on sale until the end of season, and more than likely the clothes they have purchased would have sold out by then.

So big retailers, if you’re out there and you take time to read this.. have another think about your policies and try to stop your customers only buying at discount.. In time you really won’t be able to ever sell full price again.