Saturday, 26 December 2009

bargain hunting

it's boxing day, the crowds are out in full force in search of bargains. after last year's exceptionally deep discounts, shoppers are expecting a repeat. limited transport services on boxing day doesn't deter, just look at the queues outside selfridges, way before starting time of 09:30am.

crowd control in the wee hours of the morning. i always avoid selfridges during sale times. it's prominent and central location makes it a popular stop for bargain hunters. law of economics tells me demand far outstrips supply. i do come out empty handed most times.

truth is, retailers are a lot smarter this year. the deep discounting in 2008 was quite a one off. the economy went into free fall, retailers were left with excess stock which they couldn't foresee and hence the crazy sales, even before christmas. stock buyers were a lot more cautious this year. they bought less stock, and mild discounting started way back in november. several shops, online and offline, offered 10-20% discount during "shoppers' evenings". come first week december, the shops offered 30% discount to entice christmas shoppers.

so with less stock to begin with, and gradual discounting starting from november, there really isn't much left for the half price sales. i predict that retailers' margins will be much healthier this year. not in 2007 levels, but much better than 2008.

with the fall winter 2010 menswear shows coming up in january 2010, i wonder what the buyers will be looking for. the economy should be on a slow but positive recovery. they are looking to buy stock for sale between july to december 2010. i would think they should have a bigger budget than 2009, and would be buying slightly more adventurous pieces. enough of classics, perhaps a return to seeing more exotic skins and materials on the runway. so buying smaller quantities of stock but of higher value.

ok back to the sales: this is the scene inside selfridges. i was there around 12pm and i was rather embarrassed. ok i do avoid selfridges every year during boxing day sales, but i was looking for a ysl leather jacket which i tried at sloane street but they don't have it in my size. silly me really to think i can find it at selfridges.

which leads me to think: what luxury is there? everyone loves a bargain, but when you have to jostle and finger point and raise your temper, it takes the fun out of shopping.

i actually left the sales empty handed. rather than feeling dejected, i actually felt really good, that i was able to walk away. shopping isn't one dimensional and just about the end product, it's also about the overall experience.

so did you guys manage to sniff out any bargains this year?

whoa, they sure did!

source: getty images



  1. I went to Harrods and picked up some D&G gloves as well as a Helmut Lang scarf. Those photos from Selfridges look insane!

  2. Is it just me or do most people in the 2nd and 4th pic Asian?

  3. bb: now you know why i am embarrassed to be there...

  4. and because we are smart with our money and probably had a hard time earning it and hence carefully spend it means we should be emabarassed about it?

    I don't think so. I am Asian too and I shop wisely. I do not have a lot and it makes me happy when I do not have to pay retail.

    You all can act all posh and stuff...let's face it, none of us are filthy rich so just save it.

  5. I always love that your blog containts substantial articles. Compared to other bloggers out there that just post pics of their outfits, you write interesting articles about fashion! Well done!

  6. Haha, I did Selfridges, Harrods and Harvey Nichols today as well as some Sloane Street stores with a friend.. it was manic everywhere, especially in Harrods and Selfridges. In Harrods some areas become so overcrowded you couldn't move and security had to block them off, while in Selfridges the Chloe accessories concession was stripped bear, and several other areas throughout the store were almost totally empty of product by about 1pm!!

    I think you're right about stock levels being lower than usual (Selfridges actually started heavy discounting on the 23rd in some departments anyway, which was a good chance to buy avoiding the scrum of daytrippers) and bargain hunters seemed even more frantic and crazed than usual this year!

    I didn't buy anything (which was the intention from the outset) but it was an interesting experience, which does give you a whole new perspective on fashion retail.

  7. wow i also went to selfridges around 3-4 and there is actualy nothing there to get .harrods is also resembling notting hill carnival ..the place i find offers the best discounts is harvy nichols..either that or just bond or sloan street guys..supirsed this yr how fast things went
    cudnt get my balenciaga jacket!>.

  8. Asians love luxury goods and shopping! That is why so many shopping or fashion blog writers are asians:-)

    What a crowd! Oh my...

  9. it was like being in hong kong!!every1 there is either hong kongers or singaporeans or malaysians....

  10. i hate crowd but u know, when u were inside the crowd, the shopping fun was enlarged and it was a great experience!

  11. omg, there are so many Asians!

  12. might hurt many asians feeling...(aka your readers also)..

  13. I have done all my sale shopping online this year with the exception of a jacket from Matches I need to try on today: two coats, a Bill Amberg weekend bag and a pair of winter boots.

    I tend to know what I want in advance and check it out in store beforehand where necessary. It also allows you to return it if you change your mind too.

  14. Great post. Being not-in-the-know regarding the minutae of the economic situation, I'm feeling a little more enlightened.

    Don't think I'm going to hit the sales to quite the same extent this year...

    So close to purchasing a pair of v. tall Schmoove boots. Gah. Decisions.


  15. Looking at 2nd and 4th picture, I wouldn't have thought that it happened in London. My guess would have been Hongkong or Singapore :-P

    I bought discounted goods from time to time, but I would certainly not join such a madness. Much too crowded.

  16. I absolutely hate sales: too many people (and I'm Asian, funny that...) and I find the herd mentality of many bargain hunters to be downright embarrassing. Plus I never find anything I like anyway: much better to save for something I really love. At least your stores opened at 9:30: in Sydney the large department stores opened at 5am. I can think of much better things to do on Boxing Day (eg sleeping in) than wait for a shop to open at 5am.

  17. I live not far from Selfridges. I have given up on clothes being a size 6/8 UK all that stuff is gone by the time I get there. Even a sale cannot deter me from my beauty sleep. But I scored a pair of Givenchy heels !

    And can i say i love your blog, especially the facial expression of that security guard who is probably thinking "Oh Lord of all days to take a shift at work". LOL

  18. I second Derek Cardigan ^ :)

  19. I'm glad I got away from London to Stockholm after Christmas and the stores aren't too manic here.

  20. I flew into London on the 23rd and went around a number of boutiques - thanks to the heads-up here to engage in "hushed" stealth for pre-sale discount queries, I gathered that my usual haunts were happy to extend the same sale prices to me in advance so I shopped quite leisurely and picked up my hoard in advance - I still went Selfriedges to bear witness to the mayhem - luckily I had already scoped the shoe department in advance and as Selfridges also starts their pre-sale in advance, there was no need to go nuts as the favoured pieces had already been secured....thanks Jo for your guidance as always....Lanvin has made the list and my fix for Prada well tapped!

  21. I cannot get away from the idea that if you had not decided to buy something before the sales and decided to take the chance to wait for a discount, you are not really getting a bargain. Going mad in the sales you end up buying things you had not planned or didn't really know you wanted. Personally I find the careful, planned approach more satisfying.

    PS. I love this blog, but am uncomfortable with some of the racial undertones to this comment thread.


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