11/5/2008 11:58:00 AM
October pay packets fail to lift sales
Fears that shoppers will keep a tight grip on spending between now and Christmas appear to have heightened after a crucial weekend of trading.
Retailers reported flat sales during the first important weekend in the run-up to Christmas. With the month ending on a Friday and most people getting their wages in time for the weekend, retailers were keeping their fingers crossed for a spike in sales.
The first weekend in November is seen by many retailers as an accurate gauge of how sales will fare during the Christmas period, with many putting promotions in windows ahead of last weekend. There are seven weekends remainiing until Christmas for retailers to meet their forecasts.
Most retail staff told Mobile that footfall was very similar to previous weekends, but shoppers are still reluctant to spend.
One 3 store manager said that 15% fewer customers came through the doors compared with the previous weekend.
Staff in shops where footfall was up said that, despite the abundance of customers, sales were not increasing.
One Phones 4u staffer said: ‘A lot of people are looking at pay-as-you-go, saying they want to buy one for their children for Christmas but not actually buying.’
Some senior mobile industry executives are predicting that department stores, as well as clothes and electronic retailers, will bring January sales forward into early December in a bid to encourage consumers to start spending.
Most of the staff Mobile spoke to said that mobile broadband was still one of the most popular products, but customers were also asking for Sim-only deals.
Retailers said that finding a better value Sim-only deal was high on many consumers’ to-do lists as a measure to cut monthly spending.
The handsets customers mostly asked about were the Sony Ericsson C905 and the Samsung Tocco.