Sales start early as high street retailers struggle

High street retailers have been forced to start their summer sales early as consumers continue to tighten their belts. Customers have been staying away from shopping centres and high streets in a bid to cut back on spending and the slump has caused many retail outlets to slash prices.

Summer sales start early
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Sales figures for May were down 2.2 per cent on last year and stores across the country have cut products by up to 50 per cent in order to lure shoppers in.

As well as bargain deals on offer at supermarkets, high street giants Debenhams and House of Fraser have started their summer sales today, while Gap, Boots and Topman are also making reductions in the hope of boosting sales.

A spokesman for Debenhams told the Daily Mail: "The scheduled in-store and online sale, which starts slightly earlier than last year, begins today and falls against a continuing backdrop of food inflation at a two-year high and a 19 per cent rise in gas bills."

The recent rise in the cost of living has certainly put consumers under pressure - a study published by R3 today revealed that the number of people in "financial distress" is at the highest level ever seen and six million Brits admitted to falling behind with bill payments.

And this lack of disposable income has been reflected on the high street - the Dixons group and Home Retail (which includes Argos and Homebase) have issued profit warnings and the likes of Mothercare, JJB Sports and Comet have been forced to close stores.

Clearly retailers are doing their best to get sales figures up by introducing big reductions for their early summer sales but whether it will be enough to tempt customers into buying remains to be seen.

What do you think? Will you be splashing out in the summer sales? Leave your comments below...