European retailers strike early with sales after autumn disappoints

European retailers strike early with sales after autumn disappoints
By Robert Hackwill
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High street heaven for shoppers as stores offer clothing bargains after warm autumn, but fears about terror take the fun out of bargain-hunting in France


Some European stores have flung the doors open for the winter sales ahead of Christmas
desperate to rid themselves of unwanted inventory.

The mild autumn and early winter means consumers stayed away from the shops. It was more ice cream weather, which means there are bargains galore for the shrewd shopper in the UK.

“The level of discounting has certainly been higher this year than we’ve seen in previous years and that’s partly down to unseasonably warm weather. Clothing and footwear retailers have had to enter their sales earlier to capitalise on the demand that is there at Christmas and try and get some of that build-up of stock out the door,” said retail analyst Nick Carroll.

Fashion-conscious France was also feeling the unseasonal heat, but spirits there were also dampened because of fears of terrorist attacks in crowded public places, and time-consuming stricter bag controls. Online sales have boomed.

“The rebound now is slower than after the January Charlie Hebdo attacks. January is normally the perfect sales time but now is also because it is the end of the year and we have noticed a small change in consumers’ and clients’ behaviour,” said Printemps department store General Manager Pierre Pellarey.

The French retail market has been hit by a year bookending double-whammy of public outrages keeping consumers home at peak demand periods, which will certainly hit 2015’s consumer spending figures weakening France’s already sluggish economic performance.

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