Sales Meant Long Queues around the Block; the Glamorgan Archives Offices in Leckwith, Cardiff, Are a Treasure Trove of Photos, Documents and Records Related to South Wales History. in the First of a New Weekly Series Featuring This Unique Resource, We Look at January Sales from Cardiff 'S Past
WITH so much shopping now being done online, it comes as a shock to see in these pictures the massed ranks of Cardiff's shoppers queueing happily in the rain for the start of the January sales.
For those too young to remember this quaint concept - established long before the days of "January sales" starting in mid-December as retailers realise they've pitched their pre-Christmas prices too high - it involved virtually all the main high street stores clearing out their old stock in one collective, cathartic knockdown bonanza, usually in the first week of the new year.
Typically, a headline-grabbing "doorbuster" - perhaps a colour TV for 5d - would be advertised for the first few people through the door, prompting the usual die-hards to camp out in the shop doorway, sometimes from Boxing Day if not before! This would be enough to garner the store enough free publicity to render actually advertising the sale totally unnecessary.
As we can see from these pictures, the sale at Seccombe's department store in the 1950s was typical of the phenomenon of the January sale.
The store was established around 1895 as George A Seccombe and Co. Fancy Drapers, Milliners and Costumiers, at 45 Queen Street, Cardiff. It later moved to Bon Marche, 22 Queen Street (closed after 1924) and by 1920 had also acquired premises in Queen Street. It was one of the biggest stores in the city and a mecca for shoppers.
The launch of a Seccombe's store in Barry on Friday, January 17, 1964, provided an opportunity for a massive opening sale with adverts proclaiming "this is the sale Barry has waited for - come early!".
The store was located on Holton Road, taking over a retail furnishing business belonging to HR Paul and Son Ltd.
Seccombe's of Barry specialised in furniture, household linens and electrical goods and you could sign up for the newest rental TV or get the latest twin tub. …