Quick, quick – get over to any shop, etailer or service in the UK! There’s a 2.5% sale coming soon for a limited time only!
There’s bargains galore; were you looking to get that shiny new car like a Ford Mondeo? That’s a massive £400 something saving. How about a set of those Callaway big berthas to lower your handicap? That’s a massive £17.50 saving! Wow, wow, wow! REWIND and let’s get back to reality here. Who are the government kidding? How is a drop from 17.5% to 15% going to stimulate the economy and get us to go shopping to spend more of our savings and increase our debt? The simple and hard answer is that it won’t. It’s a waste of time. For a limited time only our retailers are going to spend loads of money discounting the 2.5% on all their tills, receipts etc. But that will be paid for by the extra 2.5% margin that they will make off the consumer. Let’s put things into perspective here – 2.5% is nothing. You get more back on Boots advantage points (4%). If your maths is bad then for every £100 you spend you will save £2.50.
Going back to just last Wednesday Marks and Spencer aka M&S and your M&S announced an unprecedented one day 20% sale for the next day. That’s £20 for every £100 spent on top of any offers already going for the Christmas festive season. On the same day Debenhams began their pre Christmas January sale. I went along to the M&S sale at the Pudsey Owlcotes centre which is massive. They have a huge car park which they share with the Adsa Walmart supacentre. Usually I can park pretty close to the store, especially during the week – but last Thursday was ridiculous. I had to fight for a spot on the edge of the car park. When inside M&S I could hardly move it was so busy. Most annoyingly I ended up with no sale items and only non discounted food products and had to wait 30 mins in the queue only for the till to break down 2 customers before I was due to pay. The checkout lady told us to join another queue so I did. Some other people took my place in the broken till line that went back online just moments after changing queue where i waited a further 30 minutes! Anyway back to the point of sales is that people will go crazy for a 20% sale. Imagine M&S now announced a 2.5% sale… Most normal people would care.
Other retailers wet their pants on seeing people go mad for the Debenhams and M&S sale so they too announced temporary sales. Department stores Selfridges put on a naf sale and so did John Lewis as well as normal retailers. On Friday I went to see what was happening at these sales at Trafford Centre, Manchester. I went to Selfridges first which was relatively empty. The sale was poor and the reduced prices could be found elsewhere as the normal ticket price. Unless you were pushed for time, required a certain brand unavailable elsewhere or wanted a Selfridges shopping bag, this sale was not worth the time. I tried out the John Lewis sale too which was annoying because you had to look out for the red and black label which was hidden away at random places. You could see that they were not at all prepared and the crowds saw through their flaw too as their store was virtually empty too. So where was everyone at Trafford Centre? Well walk over to the opposite end of the centre and you’ll hit Debenhams which was heaving. The first thing I was greeted with was the overwhelming amount of 50% of signs plastered over countless displays right at the entrance. This was a massive draw. It was just Christmas cards which donated a percentage to a random charity but when Clinton cards are selling similar cards for more than double the price it seems like a bargain. Walking round it seemed like there were endless bargains to be had. As a cooking enthusiast they were selling a 5 set of Circulon Elite pots and pans for £100. Some of the pans in the set retail for £80 and the set is usually £240. There were many more bargains like this and most things were at least 20% off. This was a good sale. Over the tannoy they announced that due to unprecedented crowds they were extending the sale to the weekend so I bought nothing so that I could go xmas shopping with the missus.
Next day (saturday) came and there were hardly any car parking spaces when we arrived at about 4.30pm. The Trafford centre was busy for quite a while until about 6pm when it just got kind of empty. Even debenhams was quite empty – especially compared to previous days. Unfortunately as with January sales many of the good stuff were already gone including those Circulon pans. Boots also had a sale of sorts, no discounts here but they gave out £10 of points for every £50 spent. They had other points offers too like buy 2 Lancome products and get £10 worth of points. So dependant on what was bought, customers could receive a virtual 30% return on their purchases.
With all these offers on the market I’m sure the shops will be empty up until the next big offer and a 2.5% saving from the government will be totally insignificant. Those who are not spending now will not likely be tempted to spend for the foreseeable future.