It remains to be seen whether the usual queues will appear outside big name stores after a year that has dealt a hammer blow to some major high street brands – but while the sales don’t officially begin until December 26, some retailers have already begun cutting prices in advance.
Here are some of the best early deals.
Ikea’s ‘winter sale’ gives up to 50 per cent off selected items until January 17, online and in store. There are steep reductions on furniture, sofas and lighting. A king size Kvalfjord bed frame that was £599 now costs £399, while an Isigt fridge freezer can be bought for £250 instead of £350.
The partnership’s sale will officially start online on December 24 and in its shops from December 27. But early offers include up to 50 per cent off women’s coats and jackets from ranges such as Michael Kors, Ted Baker and Tommy Hilfiger. Living and dining room furniture is also reduced to clear, and there are offers on beds and smart speakers too. “Our commitment to being Never Knowingly Undersold means that we continually check and compare our prices against our high street competitors' prices every day, all year round,” John Lewis says. “Even during our Winter Sale we'll be checking and responding to competitors' promotions and prices.”
Marks and Spencer is already deducting 30 per cent off the price of all men’s coats, and there’s a series of lingerie deals, including two for £18 on selected bras. Some homeware is 40 per cent cheaper and a ‘three for two’ deal is running on selected children’s clothing.
Next has cut prices on lots of homeware and clothing – deals include a women’s Joules waterproof coat for £60 instead of £129, a Calvin Klein faux fur women’s coat for £120 rather than £270, and a floral shift dress that has been reduced from £26 to £5. There are substantial offers on men’s suits, while a Theo furniture set – consisting of a dining table and two benches – is now £245, down from £499.
Currys PC World
Currys PC World normally has a large Boxing Day sale and this year is likely to be no exception. Among the early deals are a Tassimo by Bosch coffee machine that is now £29 – down from £89.99, a saving of £60.99 – and a KitchenAid Artisan stand mixer that has been reduced in price by £100 to £399. A Hisense 9kg washer dryer has been reduced from £429.99 to £349.99, an £80 saving.
House of Fraser
There are savings of up to 50 per cent at House of Fraser. Some of the best deals include a women’s Barbour Findhorn trench coat for £199, down from £249, and a 44 piece canteen of Arthur Price cutlery that also costs £199 rather than £249. There are other discounts on children’s clothing, menswear and bags.
H&M says it is giving customers up to 50 per cent off selected lines online and in store, although deals of up to 70 per cent off can be found on the chain’s website. A brown and black checked wool-blend women’s coat is now 40 per cent cheaper at £72 instead of £119.99, while Premium Quality merino wool men’s jumpers are only £10, down from £34.99.
The homeware company is already taking up to 50 per cent off selected lines. Delivery is free on orders over £50, excluding furniture and bulky items.
Topshop may be seeking a buyer after its owner Arcadia went into administration but its annual sales are continuing unabated. There’s up to 60 per cent off shoes, bags and accessories now, with further discounts expected for Boxing Day.
Amazon holds an End of Year sale after Christmas, but deals of up to 83 per cent off certain items can already be found on the online giant’s pages.
Selfridges has started its Boxing Day sale early with half price savings online. There are deals on designer goods from top brands such as Acne and Balenciaga, as well as discounts on Sonos speakers and Samsung televisions.
What is the analysts’ view?
Accounting firm PwC says it expects ‘fewer promotions and bargains than usual’ after a tough 2020 for retailers.
“Retailers are learning to use their approach to promotions more effectively, and this year it’s important that they hold onto as much margin as possible. Reports of excess stock, for example, seem to be wide of the mark, which means retailers aren’t desperate to offload overstock at margin-eroding discounts,” the company says.
“This is particularly prevalent in general merchandise, which has been affected by stock delays and reported shortages. In other areas, such as fashion, for example, the most significant promotions will likely be led by clearance sales for retailers in administration. The level of promotion - and participation - will depend on further distress.
"Generally, and in a trend we’ve seen for some years now, retailers are getting smarter about how they use promotions to attract consumers. With no sign of big sales and mountains of stock and no uptick in the run-up to this Christmas, we’re unlikely to see the twin peaks that we have in previous years, as retailers balance consumer interest with protecting margins. And that means fewer bargains for shoppers before and after Christmas.”