Don't start sales too early say garden centre experts

Pre-Christmas sales do not help anyone and creating experiences can help keep prices as less of an issue, retailers and consultants say.

Buckingham Garden Centre publicity manager Chris Day said making cuts in the peak selling season drove customer price expectations down across the board, and retailers should wait until after Christmas before starting offers: "Holding sales before Christmas does not do any of us any favours. You need to hold your nerve."

Retail consultant John Stanley wrote in his blog: "Five weeks before Christmas I did some consultancy in one of my local shopping centres. Walking around one had to question what was the driver to get people to spend at this time of year. One company I looked at had a 40 per cent off Christmas sale…in my youth sales occurred after Christmas…price was not the driver during the Christmas period.

"Does this mean times have changed? In the same shopping centre I came across a small company painting Christmas baubles and displaying them with flair, here price was not the driver.

"Then I discovered the Nutella promotion. In Australia Nutella is a commodity product that is often on the grocery list. But, Nutella were offering the product as a gift with the receiver name as the label. Price was not the driver, the experience was the driver and the sale representative told me it was huge success.

"The message that came across to me was create an experience and price becomes less important, alas, a number or retailers have yet to discover this hidden secret."

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