Retailers feeling the heat opt for advancing sales


December 11, 2019

Written By Writankar Mukherjee

KOLKATA | MUMBAI: Retailers have advanced their end-of-winter and year-end sales by one to two weeks this year after business in November turned out to be flat or lower than a year earlier, poor consumer sentiment and predictions of a warmer season.

Ecommerce marketplaces Amazon and Flipkart, too, have lined up promotions this month and next to clear inventory, three executives said. Discounts will be offered across a range of products, including electronics and smartphones, they said.

According to Yogeshwar Sharma, executive director of Select CityWalk mall in south Delhi, shopping has become offer-driven now and retailers are looking to give such options almost every month. “Winter stock is also risky since brands will have to hold the merchandise for a year if they remain unsold. So most retailers will offer full-priced products as well as discounted ones and early winter sales are becoming a norm now,” Sharma said.

“However, retailers and brands, too, are to be blamed for this vicious cycle by purchasing far more merchandise in advance based on predictions which turn out to be faulty. This then creates issues with cash flow, forcing them to offer discounts,” said Devangshu Dutta, chief executive officer at consultancy firm Third Eyesight.


The trend of bringing forward winter sales from the usual time of end-December or early January started two years ago, following poor business in the preceding months. This year, Woodland, Spencer’s Retail and 2Bme have already started their year-end sales.

Woodland India managing director Harkirat Singh said the sale has been advanced this year on expectations of better growth than last year’s sale, offering discounts even on winter wear. “May-June business was down, picked up little during Diwali, while November was flat,” he said.

Arvind Brands, which operates Arrow, US Polo Assn., Sephora, Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger stores, will start its sale from the third week of December.

Electronics and smartphone retailers such as Reliance Digital and Vijay Sales are trying to establish year-end sales in these categories though their bigger promotion is near Republic Day. Vijay Sales director Nilesh Gupta said the year-end promotion will help in clearing inventory.

“The advancement started two years ago due to low sales, but retailers haven’t got back to the original end-of-season sale schedule since the base is already set now and growth will generally be compared over same period last year,” said Vasanth Kumar, managing director, Lifestyle International.

However, a senior industry executive said not all retailers and brands may unveil deals early. “While some brands are advancing end-of-season sale, it is not a secular trend. Leading retailers would rather sell full-priced merchandise in December and start their end-of-season sales only in the first week of January, which was the trend until two years ago,” said Rajendra Kalkar, president (west), High Street Phoenix Mall.

The India Meteorological Department has predicted a warmer December-February.

Source: economictimes