9 shopping Days To Go!
With just nine shopping days to go until Christmas high street shops have not cut their prices as much as they did this time last year.
Experts say that retail chains are holding back until next weekend before they launch deeper money-off promotions.
Analysis by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the accountants, found that although more retailers than last year are currently on sale, the average amount of money-off being offered by shops is 36 per cent, down from 45 per cent in the same week last year.
Mark Hudson, retail and consumer consulting leader at PwC, said that shoppers are likely to see bigger discounts in the few days before Christmas, despite 69 per cent of shops already offering some form of discounts.
“Expect the unexpected next week - both in-store and online - as the fight for the Christmas spending will go down to the wire,” said Mr Hudson.
Retailers already offering discounts include Debenhams, the department store chain, which is offering up to 30 per cent off in every department this weekend. Oasis, the fashion chain, is cutting selected prices by up to 30 per cent too. However there were far more ‘up to half price’ sales this time last year.
Christine Cross, chief retail adviser to PwC, said that fashion retailers could be holding back from cutting prices on winter coats and boots just in case the weather gets colder and shoppers will buy the items at full price.
Ms Cross said: “Many retailers are facing the dilemma of when to start the real discounting. Some are planning to go live online from December 23 whereas others are loading until the shops close on Christmas Eve and launching the web sale then, with in store sales starting at the crack of dawn on Boxing Day.
Analysts expect total sales in December to hit £39.4 billion, up 3 per cent from £38.3 billion last year. The modest increase suggests that Britons will still spend money on friends and family despite the economic downturn and tight household budgets.
Early evidence suggests that people have not held back. Figures from Visa showed that consumers spent 2.5 per cent more in the first full week of December than they did a year ago.