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E-commerce threat causes earlier high street sales

25 November 2011 - 09:50 by Graham Miller

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Multichannel retailers and those operating exclusively on the high street are set to start the January Sales even earlier this year, with some bringing them forward to the Christmas period, according to the Local Data Company.

With millions of Britons planning to spend billions of pounds via safe shopping online this year and high street sales flagging, it is easy to see why retailers with the grunt to make early reductions are choosing to do so, in order to compete with the value-oriented e-commerce market.

Spokesperson, Matthew Hopkinson, said that lower prices on the high street were a direct symptom of the burgeoning sector for safe shopping online.

He explained that the culture of discounting products was not just limited to the post-Christmas period each year, but instead with e-commerce it has become something that consumers expect to experience every time they hit the web or the high street.

A diminishing focus on brand loyalty goes hand in hand with an increase in the number of people who are simply looking to get the products they want at the lowest possible price, according to Mr Hopkinson.

It is thought that all retailers will be offering pre-Christmas discounts because they do not want to see rivals getting hold of revenue which they could capture, whether online or off.

A warning has been sent out by HM Revenue and Customs this week, which covers the increasing prevalence of online shopping from overseas retailers where VAT is not charged upfront.

The organisation said that consumers should check up on guidelines relating to just how much they can spend at foreign stores before they need to be hit with a supplementary tax. For most people this should not be a concern, but for keen overseas spenders it is worth considering.