Tuesday, December 13, 2016

All those pre-Christmas sales

Photo taken a few days back for the window of a shop in Beirut
In the last few years, a new tendency has been gaining ground in the Lebanese market: Pre-Christmas sales. It has been almost expected now for shops to offer discounts prior to the advent of Christmas. Usually, the sales period started after the festivities came and went - and the customary date for the start of the sales was around January 6th (or Epiphany). Before resorting into simplistic answers, here are some of the possible reasons why this tendency is growing - and let it be known, it is applied in small boutiques and high end retailers alike:
- With the weather being what it is - and with the temperatures (save for a couple of months a year) being high, the owner of a luxury boutique told me that "winter is not good business, people would rather invest in their summer attire as they end up wearing it much longer".
- On the whole, the market has been exceedingly bad due to economic issues. So merchants are ready to sacrifice a portion of their gains in the busiest period of the year, lowering their gain margin in the hope of compensating by attracting more buyers and therefore profiting in the volume.
- Usually, luxury items tend to suffer less during times of crisis - it has been proven so - but how long can high end brands stand pressure? Some high end shops are already closing their doors. So even luxury shops are offering discounts prior to the holidays - or resorting to the car draw or whatever other means to increase footfall. Paradoxically, such boutiques have their major bread and butter coming from aspiration-driven customers rather than high socio-economic ones.
- The advent of fast fashion stores did not make things easier to anyone. They step on the foot of small shops, and with a lot of their designs being (much) cheaper copies of luxury brands, they also meddle with upscale sellers as well. So it is such stores that can handle offering sales in the "usual" period - after new year's rush came and went.
So based on the above, such is the state of things driving the market and leading to sales before the buying-filled Christmas and end-of-year period. With the hope customers will be able to profit from this!