Christmas Shopping: Retailers offering last-minute discounts

With only four days left until Christmas, retailers are beginning to get a little desperate to claw in cash so big chains like M&S, Debenhams and Gap are dropping their prices on the lead up to the big day.

On average, discounts of 46% are being offered. Last week’s discounts were around 42%, and this time last year retailers were offering 44% off in the lead up to Christmas according to research from PriceWaterhouseCoopers. They monitor 100 high street stores and report that 72 of them are currently advertising promotions or sales.

Marks and Spencer are extending their 30% off promotion for this weekend. This week, the 30% reduction was offered on knitwear and beauty products but the extension means 30% off all non-food items throughout the firm’s 766 UK stores. At the moment, M&S are struggling for sales in their clothing departments so perhaps they’ll reach 2013 sales targets with these reductions in place.

Debenhams are offering a half-price sale, Austin Reed has a 60% sale on at the moment and Argos is offering a 50% reduction on toys. Gap was offering 50% reductions this week but they’re now offering 60% on some product lines.

Trading is difficult this Christmas for the biggest retailers primarily because consumers don’t have that much disposable income. Mark Hudson, part of the retail and consumer team at PwC explained: “As we all get ready for that frantic last weekend of shopping before the big day, it appears that despite much more positive economic news, the level of discounting seems broadly in line with last year, proving that promotions are still a key weapon to drive footfall.”

With around £12billion expected to be spend in last-minute Christmas shopping, there’s still a lot of Christmas shopping to be done. Christmas shopping during the final few days leading up to Christmas day is normally manic but these price cuts could lead to scenes similar to those we witnessed during Black Friday.

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