Customers win battle over price promotions as retailers buckle

Christmas arrives as prices slashed

The latest figures from the Retail Footfall Index have indicated that most people have begun their Christmas shopping.

Figures have shown that the number of shoppers out on the High Street rose 3.8 per cent on Saturday, rising to nine per cent on Sunday. Both figures suggest that the trend from last year, of customers and retailers playing ‘chicken’, with customers aiming to hold out long enough that retailers panic and slash prices, has continued.

Speaking about the findings, Martin Davies from Experian said: "The month long waiting game between consumers and the High Street finally came to an end this weekend. Following two washout weekends, retailers finally gave in last week and launched extensive pre-Christmas sales in order to give a much-needed boost to shopper numbers.

"However, while the increase in footfall over the weekend will be a relief to retailers, shoppers had a lot of catching up to do and it is unlikely that the weekend’s activity will come close to making up for the slump of previous weeks.

"Consumers have learnt that holding out on purchases until the last minute increases their chances of buying at a discount and this has certainly proved true this year.

"With shopper numbers surging to nearly nine per cent above 2006 levels on Sunday, it is worth remembering that much spend will have been on discounted items which is not necessarily good news for end-of-year retail profits.

"These days, clever shoppers tend to purchase in one or two big swoops rather than dragging the Christmas shopping process out over several months.

"It is possible that next weekend’s shopping will be divided between groceries and gifting, especially as shoppers can still order last minute gifts online until the end of the week.

"Whatever the turnout next weekend, it certainly seems that retail’s traditional ‘golden quarter’ has given way to a much less prosperous ‘silver month’.”

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