The UK is experiencing double-digit inflation, which is causing retailers to offer Christmas offers earlier than ever.
In September and October, UK retailers mimic US chain stores like Target Corp., which kick off the holiday season with special deals. John Lewis Partnership Plc and Tesco Plc, the UK's biggest supermarket, are among those attempting to convince holiday shoppers to spread their spending over a longer period amid inflation near the four-decade record of 10.1% set in July.
Also, the festive food range has started showing up on the shelves of many supermarkets like Tesco. Amazon has started kicked off with their special discounts on Christmas decorations & gifts early this year.
For UK retailers, Christmas is an important time of year. According to Sharon White, chair of John Lewis, most of the company's sales are influenced by Christmas, which results in the company's biggest profits in the last quarter. Despite this, more than half of British residents say they'll spend less this holiday season and one in ten say they'll spend less by 50% or more, according to QuMind, a market research firm.
Click-and-collect orders were removed from John Lewis in late September, and its Christmas returns policy was applied until the 28th of January. Christmas tree sales increased by 37% compared to last year, and baubles and decorations sales doubled.
If supplies last, Tesco and Morrisons have been running half-price toy sales for the entire month of October. Chief Executive Officer Ken Murphy told investors on an Oct. 5 earnings call that Tesco is increasing its discounts and promotions ahead of the holidays.
Part of the approach is to attract shoppers before colder weather and drastically higher heating bills bite. Keeping a tight grip on supply chains is also important for retailers. Further disruptions have been caused for retailers who import goods due to strikes at Felixstowe and Liverpool ports. Supply chain issues should be limited so retailers can deliver before Christmas. Furthermore, UK retailers are dealing with a weaker pound, which adds to pricing pressure.
As the cost pressure is bad, the Oxford Street Christmas is planned to be on only from 3 p.m. to midnight, unlike the previous years