End-of-season sales begin early for retailers this year

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Mumbai: A long Christmas weekend, early online sales and leftover stocks have prompted retailers across the country to advance their end-of-season sales.

Department stores like Shoppers Stop, Pantaloons and Lifestyle, along with brands such as Charles & Keith, Massimo Dutti, announced their sales this week.

“Sales slowed down in the October-November period, right after Diwali, and the sales in November in particular have not been good,” Govind Shrikhande, managing director, Shoppers Stop, said.

“So most of us (retailers) have preponed our sales by a week,” he said, adding that Shoppers Stop opened its sales on Friday. He added that retailers were keen to liquidate some of their stocks bought at VAT rates because input credits on goods bought under the older tax regime will no longer be available after 31 December.

“What we are hearing from retailers is that they still have a lot of stock left,” said Anupam T., vice-president of Oberoi Mall in Mumbai. “These sales are happening early to liquidate those stocks. The sales have mostly started today, a week earlier than they did last year,” he added.

Rajendra Kalkar, president (west) of High Street Phoenix mall in Lower Parel, Mumbai, agreed that sales have started early. “But I cannot attribute a single reason to it. Some brands in the mall have gone on sale earlier than others. As a mall, we do not have control over when brands go on sale,” he said.

Among the brands in the mall offering a discount are Inditex-owned Massimo Dutti, currently on an up-to-50%-off sale, and footwear and bags brand Charles & Keith, which is offering flat 40% off during the Christmas weekend.

“The early sales right now are also to capitalize on the long Christmas weekend of 22-25 December,” said Abhishek Bansal, executive director of Pacific India, which runs Pacific Mall in Subhash Nagar, New Delhi. “Brands are cashing in on the weekend. We have also been running weekend promotions with about 60-70% of the brands (located in the mall),” he said.

Meanwhile, end-of-season sales on apparel are already underway online, perhaps prompting brick-and-mortar retailers to offer discounts as well. Flipkart-owned Myntra is running an “End of Reason Sale”, offering 50-80% discounts, and Amazon India has a “Wardrobe Refresh” sale with 40-80% off, over the Christmas weekend.

Malls are expecting heavy footfalls this weekend with Salman Khan-starrer Tiger Zinda Hai having released on Friday. A number of multiplexes are located in malls.

To be sure, global fast fashion brands in India say they have always been on sale in December.

“The H&M end of season sale has started in the same week as last year. Since the time we launched in 2015 we have been having the end of season sale in December,” a spokesperson for H&M India said in an email, adding that the firm adheres to global apparel sales timelines.