On Sunday, The Value Engineers were delighted to be asked to contribute to a regular LBC radio show, hosted by the lovely Kay Burley.
Lou Ellerton joined Kay to talk about the post-Christmas retail surge, as consumers flocked to London’s Oxford Street, Westfield and shopping centres around the country to make the most of the sales.
Leading department store John Lewis announced a record start to its online sale which began on Christmas Eve, with hourly orders up 70% on last year, while Selfridges took in more than £1.5 million in its first hour of trading on Boxing Day. The story was no different online, with UK internet users making 84 million visits to retail websites on Christmas Eve and 107 million visits on Christmas Day, up 86% and 71% respectively compared to the same days in December 2011.
So what’s the story behind the surge? In Lou’s view, much of it can be boiled down to a metamorphosis by UK consumers into strategic shoppers – or ‘stroppers’, for short.
Now well trained by the major retailers to expect heavy discounts in the week immediately before and after the 25th, ‘stroppers’ are spending less on presents to unwrap on Christmas Day – focusing on smaller, more intimate gifts that show thought in place of the big-budget purchases of Christmases past – leaving them able to take advantage of discounts for the key family purchases.
While the post-Christmas sales boom will have come as welcome news to retailers beleaguered by poor pre-Christmas figures, the Olympics downturn and stormy weather, it remains to be seen whether tills will have taken enough to keep them from suffering as we head into another year of economic uncertainty. Either way, we’ll be keeping our ears open for more signs of the stropping phenomenon…
Sadly, we’re unable to post a copy of the interview here due to size constraints, but if you’d like to hear Lou’s comments or find out more about stropping, drop us a line.