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Christmas in October: Retailers fight inflation with early deals

By Don-Alvin Adegeest


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Image: FashionUnited

The race to holiday discounting has officially begun, as retailers prepare to offload their fashion stock before the end of the season. With tighter purse strings and less spending power, consumers are expected to purchase less this year amid high inflation and rising living costs.

Amazon began the trend, hosting a sale before Prime day in November, billed as an “early access sale”. Walmart is also in on the early discounting action with its "Rollbacks and More" sale in October, while Target held a short sale before Amazon’s early Prime, in order to avoid overlap.

Inflation and early discounting is expected to slow holiday spending for the year, reported Reuters. U.S. online holiday sales are expected to rise this year at their slowest pace since at least 2015 and grow only 2.5 percent to 209.7 billion dollars, according to data from Adobe Analytics.

Christmas deals start long before Black Friday

Black Friday, which takes place 25 November, will likely be the culmination of six weeks of discounting, as retailers vie to stretch the shopping period for access to disposable income as early as possible.

While in the U.S. early holiday shopping is customary, the rest of the world is seeing Christmas earlier and earlier. In the UK, John Lewis, Decathlon and Goldsmiths jewellers all are running autumn discounts, with Asos and Boohoo offering some of the biggest deals, offering up to 70 percent off listed prices.

Department store giant Macy’s said it will start holiday sales on 17 October. “We expect holiday shopping will start in October, similarly to the past two years,” Nata Dvir, chief merchandising officer at Macy’s, told the National Retail Federation. “Our strength as an omni-channel retailer is that we’re able to meet customers wherever and however they want to shop. As a leading style and gifting destination, we know that our customers are looking for new and exciting brands and products.”

Data from the New York Times Wirecutter says the vast majority of sales are not worth it, with less than 1 percent of the discounted prices it researches year-round meeting its product-quality, retailer-reliability, and price-quality rubric.