Archive for January Sales

What Price the Annual ‘Sales’?

Posted in Britain, England, Europe, Germany, Government, Modern World, Spain, UK, USA with tags , , , , , on 26/12/2010 by floroy1942

I will be the first to admit that I am no economist, but it seems to me the word ‘Sale’ has lost it’s meaning in the retail business. With Christmas over, many people look forward to the January Sales as the next highlight in their lives, but is all as it appears?

Maybe They Are Having A Sale?

I doubt it, for as the ‘Sale’ and ‘Discount’ sign seem to be an everyday feature of shopping these days, it makes me wonder if they are true.

70% - Really?

Daily we see posters in shop windows lauding 25%, 50% and even 75% discounts on the goods displayed, and if that is the case, how do these retailers make a profit?

La Canada - Marbella

Here in Marbella on the Costa del Sol, (Some call it ‘Costa Plenty’) Spain, the local shopping centre stores have been full of discount posters of up to 75%, so if the retailer is selling an item to you for just 25% of the normal price, he won’t stay in business for long!

There is no way they are offering us goods at a loss for they would be bankrupt in no time flat, so that leaves us with the only alternative, the discount is not as high as we are led to believe. In other words, it’s a scam to get customers in the shops.

Me First!

There is nothing like a ‘Sale’ sign to get shoppers excited and falling over themselves to get in first for the best bargains. At some major stores in London for example, people queue all night to be the first through the door on January 1st.

Let Me In. Let Me In!

The big ‘50% Sale’ signs in the window are like a magnet to shoppers, and people enter in the hope of finding something they do not really need, just because they are getting the item at half price, or so they believe. Read the small print and you will always see the ‘Up To’ on every discount advertisement. In fact of law, retailers need only have a single item discounted in their stores, which then entitles them to put up the large ‘Sale’ posters. To me it smacks of a monumental scam that few people seem to recognise.

It is true that major stores do offer genuine bargains in the January sales, for the simple reason they wish to be rid of the stock left over from the pre-Christmas rush to make way for new lines. In this case they may drop the price to near ‘cost’ just to be rid of it, but sell items at a huge loss, never! The post-Christmas, or January sales are perhaps the one time a year when all, or most ‘Sales’ can be considered genuine, but the rest leave me with a huge doubt.

Amazing! If It Were True.

For the rest of the year I don’t put much faith in the signs. I believe the ‘original price’ is grossly marked up to give shoppers the impression they are getting a real bargain when paying 50%. It could be true that the retailer will drop his profit margin slightly and compensate by increasing his turn-over, but he will not sell to you at a loss to himself all year round.

The price of any item is set at the cost to the retailer, including staff salaries, site rental, utilities etc., plus a profit margin. A 50% or 75% discount would therefore mean he is selling at below cost price and not compensating for staff salaries and so forth. This is an economic impossibility.

Come Back Next Year and It's Still Closing Down

Another way shop keepers pull the wool over our eyes is the ‘Closing Down Sale’. Obviously some are genuine, especially in the current economic crisis, but how many times have you seen such signs and gone back a year later to see the shop still there, and probably with the same signs in the window? Other offers are ‘buy one get one free’ or ‘three for two’ , etc.

When I lived in Holland there was a furniture maker who had the ‘Everything Must Go’ and ‘Closing Down Sale’ signs up for more than five years. It must have taken him a long time to get rid of his stock, but I’ll bet he’s still there!

There is little doubt that all is not what it seems on the High Street these days, and it’s a question of shopper beware. I think it is high time governments stepped in with more regulation for the Retail Sector, for there is little doubt things have got well out of hand.

A Much Over-Used Word These Days

The words ‘Sale’ and “Discount’ have gone the same way as the word ‘Quality’, and have so little truth in them that they may as well be removed from the dictionary.


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