Sophie Prescott gives her top tips on surviving the post Xmas sales….
January sales: you either love them or hate them. On one hand, there’s no better time of year to get your favour- ite brands at a fraction of the retail price – but that’s if you’re prepared to endure the elbowing from crowds of fellow shoppers and, of course, the endless queues. With four long years of working in fashion retail, here’s how I would suggest you get the most out of what the high street has to offer.
Firstly, go in with a plan. It’s incredibly easy to scavenge through the “£10 and under” rail at Topshop in a frenzy, grabbing the first bargain in sight – except you’ll most likely walk away with something you don’t even need. Yes, those multi-coloured sequin leggings might have seemed a great idea at the time, but realistically, how much wear are you going to get out of the item? Think to yourself about what you actually need, considering upcoming events, socials or even holidays booked in the next few months, then shop accordingly.
When it gets to rummaging through for a potential bargain, try to picture where you will wear the piece, and more importantly, what with. A lot of sale stock is from previous seasons or includes passing trends that simply aren’t selling well. This can be great for disposable fashion and trying out trends without the hefty price tag, but remember there is usually a reason for the reduction of certain items. With spring approaching, winter coats and woolly jumpers may not be the best pieces to invest in, and unless it’s a classic, staple wardrobe piece, you might not even like it next year – so be wise with your choices and don’t be tempted by trends which are probably on their way out.
This can also be said for a lot of other sale stock. Quite often sales are made up of the stuff that shops just can’t shift, with some retailers even getting older stock delivered in especially in order to bulk up the rails. This, along with an array of returns, oddments and even faulty items, means that there is a lot of rubbish to search through before you find anything really worth buying.
Once you have spotted the perfect piece, be strategic. If there are plenty left, wait a week or two as further reductions may be made on large volumes of stock to shift it before the end of sale, but if not – grab it before somebody else does.
Don’t give up if the item has gone or is no longer available in your size, as in most cases it will be available online somewhere, or failing this, many stores will be able to tell you where else in the country to find it– so if Exeter is all out of the top you desperately wanted, ask someone at home to check your local branch. Take note though, that this is usually only available in shops that take particular pride in their customer service – and is probably a bit of a waste of time at Primark.
Finally, don’t be fooled into buying something just because it is in the sale. Quite often there are “reduced” items with an oh-so-gorgeous £3 off of the original £20 retail price, which aren’t so much of a bargain as you may have thought. Likewise, a £150 pair of boots down to £60 is a great discount – but you’re still paying £60 that you may come to regret when you can’t afford to eat that week.
There are bargains to be had in the January sales, and if you’re willing to compete with hundreds of other steadfast shoppers on the same mission, you’re likely to find a fair few. If, however, after reading this article you can think of nothing worse than pushing past callous customers in order to rummage through a pile of junk that has failed to sell at any other point in the year, then I would wholeheartedly join you. Thankfully, online shopping has all the same prices, much of the same choice and, best of all, none of the hassle.