Sales Craziness is Coming to London
Sales in London?
Time is flying and we must be prepared. Sale season is about to start right after Christmas, but first expect a Black Friday hype! If you are that kind of person who cannot miss a long coveted item, you’d better plan your shopping spree in London well in advance. This time we are going to guide you through all formal and informal regulations governing sale time in London, give you tips when and how to shop and get your mind set on a discount season in London.
A few facts – best sales period in London
Shopping sales in London is that frenzied time of the year when, as Vogue has nicely put it: “Women of all ages and intellect race out and completely lose sense of who they are”. Do I really dress like a business vamp? No? It does not matter – I like this sexy black pencil skirt, and it is in really good price. Am I a grunge girl? Well, if not I can become one. It does not matter that I am more a womanly woman type. These loose grey tracksuit trousers are of my size if I only find the right sartorial help. And the wonderful stilettos I have been craving for are now in a reasonable price? I can even squeeze into 36 if my toes bear it for at least an hour. Sounds familiar?
When is the best time for London sales?
There are two major sales periods in the UK, and London is no exception to the rule. Unlike in some countries, there is no major legislation that regulates the timing or duration of store sale periods. There is the Summer sales season, starting unofficially mid July and the Winter sales time which starts immediately after Christmas, either on Boxing Day (26 December) or a day after.
The last 5 years have seen some fundamental changes in the way shops in the UK deal with end of season stock, largely because most of them don’t work to a two-season year but a series of 6/8 week stock cycles (like Gap or Zara). The Summer sale in London is one that has diminished in importance as a result, unlike New Year!
Black Friday in London
Before the two major sale seasons come into play, however, we must not forget about yet another sales day which originates from Philadelphia, USA, in the early 1950s, mainly ‘Black Friday’. The concept came to the UK not long ago, that is in 2010, but has started to become increasingly popular in the UK since then.
What is it?
Black Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year. So if you love bargains and you have been saving up for something really big, wait till the day and then go hunting. (More on how to survive it in this post)
When is it?
This year, the special shopping day falls on November 24th, so it is pretty close. Black Friday is always followed by Cyber Monday (November 27th) which used to be a separate event in it’s own right until last year when it merely became an extension to the Black Friday weekend.
To tell you the truth, if you do not like crowds, be careful, as the day is famous for unbelievable masses of shoppers fighting for the best deals. And besides, not all UK retailers take part in this day. Next and Homebase turned back on Black Friday last year and M&S and Selfridges took part only partially. So before you set off for shopping on November 24th, you’d better check which shops are joining in this American discount day.
Winter Sales Dates
Now, this is something which interests us more. It starts on Boxing Day and lasts till around mid January. If you want to get the best sales deals, you should get to your favourite shops really early. It is Christmas mind you so public transportation is limited on Boxing Day. Plan your journey in advance then. (If you plan to shop Winter sales abroad, here’s your guide)
Plan Ahead for the Christmas Sales in London
You have to plan your shopping trip in advance and think tactically. You can either target a particular shopping destination like Covent Garden, West End or Carnaby. Or you can go for a department store option where you have all sales bargain under one roof. And if you are hunting for some more designer items, splash out at some of the more luxurious shopping destinations like Bond Street, Walton Street (you can read more on Walton street hidden gems here) or Knightsbridge. If you are a more high street shopper, go for Oxford Street, Regent Street, Carnaby or Seven Dials. There are going to be plenty of bargains there so you will not regret.
Remember to pop into a café for a coffee and a scone in the afternoon to avoid a drastic sugar drop and lack of energy to carry on with the shopping. As the sales time gets shortened, due to more sales periods organised by particular brands in between Summer and Winter, be prepared for a real battle ground in shops. If you get to the shops you have been eying up on early enough, chances are you will get your sweater, blazer, dress or shoes in your size. After Christmas sales is a great time to buy loads of clothes, but think strategically – what you will really need and what you can wear in spring or autumn and winter next year.
Where to Shop in Winter?
If you prefer shopping in big department stores in Winter, to avoid struggling with harsh temperatures outside, we have identified some big names for you:
Fenwick: You can get great bargains on fashion and accessories at this famous Bond Street store.
Harrods: The Knightsbridge store’s winter sales are famous for big savings on luxury goods.
Harvey Nichols: The chic department store offers shoppers impressive reductions.
Liberty London: Treat yourself to some Liberty luxury at discount prices.
Peter Jones: If you like shopping in comfort and style, visit the store.
Selfridges: This well-known and much-loved department store offers six floors of shopping area.
Summer Sales in London
The sale usually kicks off about mid July with many stores opening at 5am and bargains available online from around 8am. The date is set more by custom than by any regulations and discounts can vary from 30% till 70% in the very last moments of sales when shops are really trying to get rid of summer stuff. Mid July is still Summer in full swing so if you buy wisely and know what you look for, you can get real pearls and enjoy wearing them for at least a month and a half.
Summer sale is a perfect time to indulge in some retail therapy if you need one. But be aware, some brands can be pretty secretive about their discounts, leaving it until the last possible minute.
Bear also in mind that many deals are only available for a limited time so keep note of the dates and prioritise your shopping accordingly.
Some Shops Having Summer Sales in London
If luxury leather goods are your cup of tea in summer, pay Aspinal of London a visit and you can save an impressive 60 per cent of selected items including women’s purses, handbags and men’s wallets.
Quirky designer Charlotte Olympia offers savings of up to 50 per cent on everything from high heels and summer sandals to bags and accessories.
Summer is the perfect time to invest in some new shoes. Dune London offers reductions up to 50 per cent of both ladies and men’s footwear.
If you need to freshen your summer wardrobe, pay Hobbs a visit. You can save up to 70 per cent on tops, dresses, shoes and accessories.
British-based luxury fashion label usually offers reductions up to 60 per cent off the latest spring summer collection.
New Look seems to have a sale on all-year-round but as the new season kicks in you can get really good bargains. (More on affordable UK brands in this post)
Arguably one of the most in-demand sales of the summer, so you cannot miss it to stay trendy.
How do we know it is the time for sales in London?
Some shops announce their sales time officially. We can then find the information in local newspapers and magazines as Time Out London or Evening Standard a few weeks or days before the sales really starts. When it is announced, be prepared to travel to the shop you have been eying on for months very early as there will be more sales lovers like you. Some shops like NEXT invite their sales customers even as early as at 5 a.m. to queue up well before the shop opens.
Tips for wise London sales shoppers
Don’t get seduced by discounts
We love the thought, looking at the label, that we have just saved even 100 quid, but remember that nothing is a saving if we do not wear it and we hang it at the very back of our wardrobe. So be careful with labels and the magic of numbers on them.
Make smart next season investments
Will I be really wearing that circle skirt next season? Will the sequin top be trendy next summer as well? Obviously if an item is something you will wear regardless of trends and next season fashion, buy it. If not, think twice.
Check the quality
Remember this is sales in London. The item you are looking at has been through lots of hands and trying-ons. Look for any signs of lipstick, pen marks, pulls, snags and holes. Scrutinise every item thoroughly as the sales clothes can be disappointing when it comes to quality. What the point of buying a dress half-price if you need to mend it for almost as much.
Buy things that fit
Do not even think of buying a too long a dress or too tight trousers with the thought of taking the items to the nearest seamstress. You will not do it and you know it. Buying things with quite a discount and having to shorten or widen it for additional sum of money is pointless. Why pay twice for the same thing?
If you are really into a sales in London and discounts mood, stay with us for sample sales tips next time. With the ShopTrotter app, you will not miss a thing at London’s best boutiques.