Discounts lie ahead for last-minute shoppers

20 Jan 2016 | Author: | No comments yet »

Christmas shop before you drop.

In the last few days before Christmas, retailers are offering deep discounts to woo shoppers and clear shelves after what has been a lackluster holiday shopping season. For those who haven’t been as organised as they’d hoped it’s never too late to start a plan of attack, ASIC senior manager of financial literacy, Amanda Westcott, says . “Pause for a second and make a Christmas list and budget so you have an idea of what you can spend in those last three or four days on gifts, food or decorations,’’ she says. “Use apps such as (Australian Securities and Investments Commission) MoneySmart’s TrackMySpend to keep a close eye on what you are spending so you don’t rack up a huge bill at the end that you can’t pay off.” Keen shoppers will have noticed plenty of stores offering significant discounts on items already so Westcott urges consumers to keep their eyes peeled for last-minute store discounts. “A lot of retailers reduce their prices in the days leading up to Christmas so shoppers should keep on their radar any pre-Christmas sales as retailers try to get rid of stock,’’ she says.

At Oxford Circus on Sunday, throngs of consumers exiting the tube station to the sound of steel drums playing Jingle Bells, were greeted by a forest of sale signs and discount tags. “I’m surprised by how quiet it is.Retailers across Wales will be hoping panicking last-minute Christmas shoppers will turn out in force this week to make up for a “disappointing” Christmas build-up.

And the shops were busy despite many suffering hangovers from Black Eye Friday, which has become notorious for drunken mayhem as office parties collide with Christmas revellers in towns and city-centres.Unseasonably warm weather, security fears in the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks and a shift to online shopping have combined with hopes of catching a late bargain to make this year a nail-biter for many retailers.nThe top shopping days last year were Dec. 23, the Saturday before Christmas, Black Friday and Boxing Day placed forth. “What we saw was Black Friday overtook Christmas for the first time,” he said. “We’re sure that the 23rd will still be the busiest shopping day of the year” because of last-minute shoppers. nOnline shopping is growing faster, but 90% of the spend is still in brick and mortar stores.It was branded ‘Panic Saturday’ as millions of Britons hit the high street yesterday in search of Christmas bargains – but many savvy shoppers were busy returning presents and goods they had already bought, so they could snap them up again as prices tumble. In Massachusetts, sales through mid-December were running only 1.5 percent ahead of last year, compared with a projected increase of 6.5 percent in holiday sales made at the beginning of the season, according to a survey of 3,000 stores, excluding major chains, by the Retailers Association of Massachusetts.

Research from online retailer The Iconic shows the last-minute dash is becoming increasingly familiar among shoppers — last year the website experienced it’s highest online traffic peak just before midday on Christmas Eve. And while high streets and shopping centres across the country saw crowds cram in to hunt out stocking fillers and gifts for under the tree, many retailers reported lower footfall than the equivalent day last year. Marks & Spencer, Debenhams and BHS are among those already running extensive promotions, particularly on knitwear and coats, which have been left on the rails as temperatures have topped 15C in one of the mildest Decembers in more than 50 years. Desperate retailers have started January sales early and slashed already reduced prices on many items following a disappointing ‘Black Friday’ three weeks ago.

Founder of Australian retailer innovation association, Paul Greenberg, says there’s been a noticeable trend in shoppers leaving their purchasing to the last possible moment. “An increasing number of Australians are not only opting for the convenience of online shopping, but also using it as way to shop right down to the wire and Christmas is no exception,’’ he says. I’ve enjoyed shopping today,” said Gavin Hodges, 32, holding a bag with a roll of wrapping paper sticking out. “I bought one thing for myself and one thing for my husband.” Hodges said he had a similar experience on Saturday, at the vast Westfield shopping centre at White City, west London. “The 50% sales – it’s started,” he said. We saw 140% more tap transactions (with their debit or credit cards) in December so far over December last year,” he said. “This means they’re moving the lines quicker and they’re really embracing that speed and ease.” n Shopper Ali Jessamine, 57, said she hasn’t yet completed her naughty and nice shopping lists, but was hoping to tackle some at Queen St. Last-minute shopping: Queues stretched out of shops and down roads as employees frantically attempted to control the hordes of people shopping on ‘Panic Saturday’. It’s no secret many of us will blow the budget at Christmas so it’a worth trying to stick with paying by debit instead of credit cards, Rising Tide Financial Services founder Chris Browne says. “Most people get to the end of January with a massive credit card debt so the best thing you can do is use a debit card because it’s your own cash,’’ he says. “If you’re reluctant to cut up your credit card call your bank and if you have a limit of $5000 or $10,000 get it reduced down to $1000 so it never spirals out of control.”

That chimes with Andy Lyon, retail expert at consultancy PWC, who said retailers in Nottingham, Leicester and Birmingham had reported a “relatively quiet” weekend, as shoppers increasingly rely on the internet to do their Christmas shopping, instead of queuing up in stores. “I don’t think the big rush has happened. But elsewhere in the capital, independent retailer David Hughes-Lewis, a member of the Cardiff Retail Partnership, said it had not been a Saturday to remember. “But we have still got four days’ trading before Christmas and we are still optimistic. Retail analysts at HSBC cut their expectations for clothing sales over Christmas by 2% last week. “The net result will be a transfer into post-Christmas sales at a loss of revenue and or [profit] margin,” Paul Rossington said. W. and Spadina Ave. “I think we were sidelined because there was no snow,” she said. “We were caught off-guard and left it a bit later than we should have. Above, Glasgow (left) and Princes Street (right) Leading retail analyst Richard Hyman said: ‘This is the toughest year for trading that I have known in 30 years of the business.

Analysts blame unseasonably warm temperatures that are hurting apparel sales, lingering concerns about the direction of the economy, and the lack of hot new products that get shoppers revved up and spending. It’s very positive and it’s all looking encouraging.” “There are coffee shops and restaurants, we have adventure golf and we may look at having things such as gyms.

An estimated £5.9bn is expected to be spent over the four days from Saturday to Tuesday, according to card provider MasterCard, more than half of it on groceries. The problem is with all this discounting, a lot of people have been buying items, keeping them in the packaging with the tags on in case they can get them cheaper next week.

Some might not mourn the riots caused by the craze for Cabbage Patch Kids dolls in the 1980s, or the Beanie Baby rampages and Furby fever of the 1990s. We need to be in the position to be able to offer people these things.” At the Yankee Shop in the Quadrant in Swansea owner Catherine Williams said: “There was a queue waiting for us on Saturday morning and there were queues through the day.

Retailers are also unsure of the impact of the Black Friday discount day in late November, which is likely to have encouraged shoppers to buy early to bag a bargain. “The end of 2015 sees the sector in a state of flux as retailers wait to see whether Christmas peak sales are impacted significantly by Black Friday. A number of retailers’ strategies for the coming year depend on how this ‘double humped camel’ scenario plays out,” said Julie Carlyle, head of retail at business advisory firm EY. If you spend £50 one week and then see the same thing at £25 the next week you feel cheated.’ He added: ‘The phenomenon has also taken off because of the number of clothes bought online.

Prices have fallen consistently throughout the year, with supermarkets in particular facing relentless competition from discounters such as Aldi and Lidl. An estimated 2.5% more shoppers are expected to visit their local high street on Monday compared to last year, according to analysts at FootFall, as the belated shopping spree gets under way. But sales this year appear to have been disappointing. “Black Friday was a disaster,” Hyman said. “After a relentless diet of discounting, the retail sector tried to say to consumers, ‘Here’s another discount.’” Back on Oxford Street, Julian Chinnici, 29, confirms that despite the bustle, the pre-Christmas rush is not as frenzied as in some years. “It’s less busy than I expected it would be. Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with demand, and despite its simplicity, the toy’s old-fashioned humour and fun has driven it into the list of this year’s top ten bestsellers, usurping more sophisticated gadgets.

But I am finished for today.” Not everyone in the crowds had shopping bags in their hands, with Christmas shoppers joined by tourists and people just soaking up the festive atmosphere. A bit like Russian roulette, it involves putting your face into a frame, piling whipped cream onto a plastic arm and trying not to trigger it when you crank the handle. Even though the Massachusetts economy is growing strongly, the severe 2008 recession and the lessons of how quickly prosperity can vanish remain fresh in shoppers’ minds, she said. Sales of the £19.99 toy went through the roof after grandmother Sharon O’Brien posted a YouTube video of her and her husband Martin playing the game with their grandson Jayden.

Softer-than-expected retail sales have produced a bonanza of low prices for consumers, said Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist at the National Federation of Retailers, an industry group in Washington. Several factors have influenced the price drop, including a flood of merchandise that followed the end earlier this year of a long-running labor dispute at California ports that slowed shipments.

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