Stores are kicking off massive online ‘January sales’ today as they seek to move a mountain of unsold stock as families cut back on festive spending.
Savings of up to 70% are available from names such as John Lewis and Marks & Spencer, which launch online sales today.
They join chains such as Boots, Currys and House of Fraser which are already running ‘winter sales’.
Argos and Habitat will launch their January furniture, home and garden sales on Christmas Day, while Amazon waits until Boxing Day.
Stores are launching massive ‘January sales’ online today as they seek to move a mountain of unsold stock
Traditional Boxing Day sales with consumers queuing in the cold are being killed by the shift to online shopping.
Millions of people will be shopping for bargains from the comfort of their homes over the weekend, with one estimate suggesting Britons will spend £1billion on Christmas Day.
Most major shopping parks, such as Bluewater, Westfield, the Trafford Center and Bicester Village will open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday. However, a number of retailers, including Next, John Lewis and M&S, will not open stores until Tuesday to give struggling staff a break.
Bargains are promised in fashion, appliances and large items like furniture.
Retail and delivery expert David Jinks of ParcelHero said: “We predicted something of an austerity Christmas, and that’s how it turned out. There’s no hiding the fact that this Christmas won’t be the one retailers look back on with gusto.
Traditional Boxing Day sales with shoppers queuing in the cold are being killed by the shift to online shopping
He added: “Retailers are sitting on a huge amount of unsold stock and there could be a wealth of choices, especially the ‘New Year’ sales which actually start on Christmas Eve these days.”
Mr Jinks suggested that a number of retailers are considering delisting many stocks, such as fast fashion and toys, perhaps passing them on to point-of-sale and discount specialists, rather than putting them on sale.
“Major retailers are actually writing off unsold inventory, especially winter fashion items, and looking to get out of a terrible business year. It might be worth visiting the local outlets if you have one nearby,” he said. VoucherCodes, which produces annual festive spending forecasts, estimates that £1.13billion will be spent today, with around £840million of that in high streets and shopping centres.
It predicts that £1.08billion will be spent on online sales on Christmas Day. A spokesperson said: ‘The fact that the rail strikes begin at 3pm on Christmas Eve will hurt retailers as people… scramble to get home.’ Many will avoid sales because the cost of living crisis has left them without cash. A study for AJ Bell found that 34% are spending less this year.
Among this group, 63% said they had less disposable income, while 49% blamed the cost of living crisis.
Andy Mulcahy, chief strategy officer of IMRG, the online industry trade body, confirmed that retailers are sitting on unsold stock.
It predicts £1.08billion will be spent on online sales on Christmas Day
The number of people browsing the websites through December was high, but the conversion rate – the proportion of people who make a purchase – was down by around 20%.
“It’s not going well, I think December will be bad,” he said.
He added: “Stores had hoped to sell a lot of TVs around the World Cup, but that didn’t happen.” On the positive side, there have been positive sales for energy-efficient products, such as air fryers.
The giant Bluewater shopping center along the M25 in Kent was set to be rammed yesterday on what analysts dubbed ‘Frenzy Friday’. However, footage showed gaps in parking lots and a lack of crowds. The center said it did not comment on visitor numbers.
Retail traffic counter Springboard said footfall in high streets, business parks and malls was up yesterday from the equivalent day last year. At noon, high streets were up 6.6%, retail parks 10.8% and malls 18.3%. Bluewater said: “We saw a good party period with guests shopping for the best deals and enjoying the festivities.”
“Sitting on a lot of unsold”