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Summer sale season peaks online

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This year’s summer sale season is reaching its peak today at ecommerce sites from Amazon and Currys PC World to department stores including John Lewis and Debenhams.

Amazon is offering members-only deals for its Prime Day 48-hour event until the end of the day, and promises that by the end of the day it will have offered more than a million deals worldwide.   The ecommerce giant has worked with brands and its marketplace retailers to offer deals in a range of formats from short-lived ‘lightning’ deals to deals available through its Alexa voice assistant. Unlike other retailers that are also holding their summer sales this week, these Amazon deals are only available to members of its Prime subscription scheme, who can choose from a range of convenient delivery options.

At the same time, retailer Currys PC World’s Black Tag event runs until the end of today. It’s competing by offering free next-day delivery on many items, while shoppers can also collect goods from 800 stores. The retailer predicted 7.4m daily unique visitors to the website over the course of the 11-day event.

Zeena Hill, customer go-to-market planning director at Dixons Carphone, said the retailer expects to take 125,772 online orders – or eight a minute – during the sale. “It’s predicted 42% of those orders will come from mobile devices,” she said, “and around 50% will come from desktop, as customers choose the most convenient way to get their hands on new products this summer.”

Debenhams is holding a 48 hour flash sale with deals that include 20% off new season ranges. The timing of its event also coincides with the much publicised Amazon Prime, ending at the end of today, wile 

John Lewis, meanwhile, is holding its twice-yearly Clearance event, which started online on June 19. The department store has reduced prices on items to clear stock, and has also negotiated limited-time and limited-quantity discounts with suppliers. Delivery is at its standard terms, free on  orders of £50 and over, while click and collect from its shops is free for orders of £30 or more.

Sales are also underway at fashion retailers from Asos and Quiz to Bonmarché. 

Our view: Last December Asos was among the retailers to warn on profits in a highly competitive retail market. Retailers were dropping their prices in order to win customers and clear stock – but then effectively selling at a loss. This summer the aim must surely be to ensure that discounting doesn’t become unprofitable once more – but achieving that in a retail environment where consumers are still lacking in confidence and footfall is down will, once again, prove challenging. 

Image courtesy of Amazon

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