Shop prices are in free fall in the run-up to 2021 as retailers race to clear stock amid a "deepening" High Street crisis, a report has said.
Discounts are most common at retailers selling fashion and DIY goods, according to the British Retail Consortium's (BRC) Shop Price Index.
A combination of clearing as much seasonal stock during this final hurdle in the retail year has always been the key driver behind the 'January Sales' - however we all recognise that this is a year like no other.
The surge to maintain cash-flow has overridden protection of margin as retail tries to keep itself afloat and be ready to survive what is historically the leanest of times in January thru to March - however with the backdrop of Covid, third waves, and the looming threat of another lockdown has seen consumers that have disposable cash at hand are the ones to benefit from deal after deal, and all this on top of stores going into administration.
When we in multi-channel retail reflect on the past year what will we have really learnt about the key drivers in consumer behaviour?
As an international retail brand and business consultant I constantly see brands/companies becoming distracted, fixated with logos, mission statements, AI, VR, tech projects, and other such activity - all of which distracts from the real reason the company/brand is struggling.
If the foundations are crumbling you need to fix that first.
Covid aside, the biggest threat to any company is to lose sight of the 'why.
I'll say it again - "The biggest threat to any company is to lose sight of the 'why'".
The 'why' is your brand equity.
It's a simple question with significant ramifications - and it's all based on spotting changes in consumer behaviour ahead of your competitor.
So if you've elected to do more of the same, and move away from the core reason 'why' by product or category extension you have probably given ground to other brands/businesses who have managed to take away your 'why'.
Transformation isn't about digital, channels, tech, Apps, websites, or other fixed mindset stuff, it's totally about being consumer centric, then working out how you can add value by leveraging what you have to build the transformation bridges to the new future.
So, when the consumer bags those bargains where do you think they go to show off?
Diane Wehrle, marketing and insights director at Springboard, said pre-Christmas discounts were not new, but that there would be more deals than usual this year as non-essential shops tried to make up for lost sales. "Many retailers will have committed to orders, not had enough time to cancel and then ended up lumbered with stock," she told the BBC. "They won't be able to sell things like seasonal gift sets and certain fashion lines in the new year, so we expect lots of discounts on those." Retailers are also trying to get people to do their Christmas shopping earlier, fearing a spike in online orders that will be hard to fulfil, said Nick Carroll, associate director of retail at Mintel.