Embattled retailers make record levels of pre-Christmas discounts

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Weak trading and concern over an impending Brexit has backed retailers into a corner in the run-up to Christmas, forcing them to make record levels of discounting.

Accounting firm Deloitte has revealed analysis of 800,000 products that showed stores were attempting to jump-start consumer spending with discounts averaging at almost 44 per cent. 

The firm’s research predicts savings to increase to a new record of 48 per cent by Christmas Eve.

According to Deloitte, a number of key concerns including an over-supply of stock from a mild start to winter, and the resulting markdowns, had caused widespread discounting across the industry.

“These will continue to grow in number and size, with average discounts of more than 52 per cent anticipated from Boxing Day onwards,” Deloitte’s research suggested.

Deloitte added that savvy consumer behaviour had also exacerbated the industry’s fight for sales over the peak trading period.

“In recent years consumers have come to expect retailers to heavily discount products in the lead-up to Christmas,” Deloitte lead consumer analytics partner Jason Gordon said.

“Christmas falling on a Tuesday, shorter Sunday opening hours and many choosing the weekend prior to Christmas to travel to friends or family will complicate the last few crucial days trading.

“This is why we expect retailers to ramp up their discounting earlier than normal in an attempt to clear stock.”

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