Dispatches from retail's front line

Oh the joys of the sale season (now officially longer than the football season). The consumer expecting a sale on the sales that was on the sale with started back in December.
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Papers full of stories about retailers panic selling, and reducing everything to half of the half of the original half price. Some of the less intelligent consumers thinking that half price of half price is 12.5 per cent less of course 2.5 per cent VAT reduction, meaning they should be paying ten per cent of the original price. If you think that sounds confusing, then that is how confused the consumer is.

3 for 2 didn't work, so like most, I reduced the price by a third, called it a games sale and actually sold more games and only had one customer ask if we were running a 3 for 2. I explained we had lowered the price instead but if he wanted to pay normal price for two, I would do him the third free. He went out happy, but he took a lower price game as his freebie and paid £2 more.

The Woolies sale was a disappointment to many. What they expected a closing down sale to have, I don't know, but I did hav a customer say to me that they have moved all the good stuff out for when they start up again. That's how cynical the consumer is to a sale now, but more importantly, how cynical they are to how serious the situation is on the High Street.

A recent survey showed that nearly 80 per cent of the public questioned believe prices will fall in 2009. A bigger percentage than we would dare to imagine don't know the difference the Euro/Dollar will make here in the UK.

But the best moan I heard, which probably summed up what the consumer thinks about sales in this day and age, is the customer I overheard talking to a friend on how disappointed she was with the Woolworths sale: "You would have thought they would have bought more in for their closing down sale wouldn't you?"


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News from retail's front-line

So, another round of shows over, and didn't they seem quiet? Toy Fair seemed quieter than last year, which is bad news when you consider it was not spread across two halls.

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Leading from the front

Bullish forecasts from suppliers will be few and far between over coming months. Mattel?s management, however, believes its core of brands mean it's well positioned and confident for 2009. Ronnie Dungan spoke to MD David Allmark and Marketing Director Jackie Jordan about how a market leader copes with the crunch?

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