Magazine article Marketing

Flash Sales Pose Threat to Future Brand Health

Magazine article Marketing

Flash Sales Pose Threat to Future Brand Health

Article excerpt

'Flash' sales could have a negative impact on brand image and long-term sales, according to industry experts.

Last week, high-street retailers including Debenhams, Marks & Spencer, Bhs and Wallis launched flat-rate discounts on all products in-store for one to three days to galvanise consumer spending. Retailers have predicted that sales this Christmas will be the worst for 30 years. According to customer and market in-sight agency Nunwood UK, consumers intend to cut their Christmas spending by 6%.

However, the 'flash' sales did boost footfall, and both the Debenhams and M&S websites crashed due to volume of traffic. Despite this, Ed Garner, director of research at TNS, warned of the tactic's risks.

'If retailers can create land-grab, they can take sales from competitors, but they are reducing their own profit margins, and canny consumers are returning goods bought at full price, then buying them again at a discount.'

A Debenhams spokesman said: 'Our three-day sale created a real buzz. In Bromley, for example, the high street was dead apart from shoppers with Debenhams bags.'

There is, however, a danger that the apparent sales increase will mask a mere redistribution of activity, and sales will go on to drop as shoppers simply finish their Christmas shopping earlier. …

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