Boxing Day set to boost the high street
‘Super Saturday’ could be biggest shopping day of the year
Nottingham, 22 December 2009 — Disappointing retail sales figures, lower than average footfall traffic and recent bad weather in the run up to Christmas all emphasise why Boxing Day trading is going to be even more critical this year, according to Experian’s retail experts.
Jonathan de Mello, Director of Retail and Property at Experian comments: “Boxing Day 2009 will be an absolutely crucial day for retailers, as this year it falls on a Saturday. Most retailers make around 25 per cent of their weekly revenues on a Saturday, and given Boxing Day is now a major shopping day in its own right, it is conceivable that Boxing Day 2009 could be ‘Super Saturday’ - the biggest shopping day of the year so far - rivalling even 23 and 24 December.”
Over recent years Boxing Day has become increasingly important for retailers, with footfall on 26 December 2008 12.5 per cent up on the previous year. Whilst driven by the deep discounts retailers were offering at that time - with 70 per cent, 80 per cent and even 90 per cent discounts available in some stores - last year's record footfall levels on Boxing Day illustrate a growing readiness on the part of the UK consumer to shop on what traditionally used to be a day of rest.
However, those retailers wanting to encourage consumers to spend in the hope that Boxing Day will compensate for slow sales to date, need to prepare and think carefully about their offline and online strategies.
Jonathan de Mello adds: “The UK shopper has become increasingly bargain conscious and last year retailers were discounting heavily - well before Christmas - in order to drive shoppers into their stores. This deep discounting hit retailer margins hard and, combined with mandatory quarterly advance rental payments and the depreciation of sterling, sent many retailers into administration last year, or forced them to take on even more debt. But there are strategies that retailers can adopt to ensure they maximise their margins over the festive period.”
Online retail marketing will be crucial
Jonathan de Mello comments: “Online marketing is going to play an even bigger role for retailers in driving sales this year – particularly with last weekend’s weather hitting the high street. Whether it’s because of bad weather or competitors’ activities, retailers can quickly and cost effectively adapt online offers to reflect what is happening at the tills. Fast and original marketing is going to be key and as we’ve seen in 2009, consumers are hunting out online discount vouchers like never before. If they want a bargain, as with last year, the web will be the first place they look and retailers need to use this to their advantage.”
Online and offline retail traffic, Christmas 2008 (Sources: Experian Hitwise and Experian Footfall)
Top 20 retail sites Boxing Day 2008
High street retailing
Retailers should resist the urge to discount until Boxing Day. Many retailers have already started discounting and the frequency and depth of these discounts is likely to increase as Christmas approaches.
De Mello comments: “Those retailers that did hold firm last year outperformed their peers from a profit margin perspective.”
From Boxing Day onwards retailers should advertise substantial (50 per cent plus minimum) discounts online and offline and ensure their store's visual merchandising promotes these, to create the impression that heavy discounts are available throughout the store. However, discounted products should take up no more than 25 per cent of total sales area, and should be located at the rear of the store to drive in-store footfall, and to increase customer dwell times. Retailers should avoid discounting best selling products, and surround the discounted product with these best-sellers to maximise customer average transaction values.”
Experian Public Relations
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