Is the early onset of End of Season Sales, steep discounts and year-long sales spelling the end of specific defined sales seasons?
New Delhi: The pile-up of unsold inventories in warehouses and low business sentiment in stores have not only prompted fashion and lifestyle brands to advance the bi-annual ‘End of the Season Sale’ by about two weeks but has also forced them to offer heavier discounts in the beginning of the season to attract buyers.
“There is too much inventory lying with companies and sales are not happening as consumers are not just buying much,” said the chief executive of a major global brand. “That is why brands are forced to give greater discounts to liquidate inventories. Everyone is struggling with numbers.”
Traditionally, brands kick off the sale season with discounts from around 20-40% but this year, the discounting was up to 50% or more.
Global and Indian fashion brands including Nautica, American Eagle, The Body Shop, Jaypore, Ritu Kumar, Marks & Spencer, Vero Moda, Guess, Mango, Iconic, Massimo Dutti, Charles and Keith, H&M, Rosso Brunello, Forever New, Hidesign, Rareism, Lacoste and Beverly Hills Polo Club started off by offering up to 50% off to its customers.
Brands like Bath and Body Works, Aldo, Aldo Accessories and Global Desi Girl are going all out this season by offering flat 50% off on everything in the store in December.
H&M opened its sale in December 2022 offering 50% off, now almost a month later, the global fast fashion brand has increased the discount to 70%. The brand has also added more styles to its sale, luring customers to take home bigger shopping bags this season.
Aldo has 60% and extra 20% off on purchase of two items. Department store chain Lifestyle is offering 60% plus 10% extra.
Another top executive of one of the largest department store chains said Diwali sales, especially in the Delhi region, was lacklustre for most fashion brands. On top of that, late arrival of winter in north India added to retailers’ woes as high-ticket winter items also piled up in stores, said Abhishek Bansal, executive director of Pacific Group that operates several malls in New Delhi and in Dehradun.
Harminder Sahni, founder of retail consultancy Wazir Advisors, said over the years brands have been offering one way or the other discounting through the year. So, the relevance of the end-of-the-season is diminishing.
“Discounting happens all the time. These days it is confusing what discount season is starting and what is ending,” he said. “There is no secular trend left anymore.”