BARGAIN hunters are set to enjoy the biggest summer sales on record as retailers offer discounts on unsold items.
Retail analysts predict discounts of up to 70 per cent off throughout July, August and September.
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Clive Black, retail analyst at Shore Capital, told The Times, that shoppers buying spring and summer clothes are likely to see the best deals.
This is because stores have to sell seasonal fashions to create space in their warehouses.
Mr Black said: "There is a tidal wave of cheap clothes coming our way.
"Billions of pounds of stock is currently in ships on its way to UK shops and retail warehouses are already full to the gills.
"The magnitude of what has happened has never been seen in modern times. There will be record discounts."
Businesses that must remain closed
WHILE the Government is encouraging some to return to work, it says the following businesses and venues are required by law to stay closed to the public:
- Restaurants and cafes, other than for takeaway
- Pubs, cinemas, theatres and nightclubs
- Clothing and electronics stores; hair, beauty and nail salons; and outdoor and indoor markets not selling food
- Libraries, community centres, and youth centres
- Indoor and outdoor leisure facilities such as bowling alleys, gyms, arcades and soft play facilities - although outdoor sports facilities, such as tennis and basketball courts, golf courses and bowling greens, will be allowed to reopen from May 13
- Some communal places within parks, such as playgrounds and outdoor gyms
- Places of worship (except for funerals)
- Hotels, hostels, bed and breakfasts, campsites, caravan parks, and boarding houses for commercial/leisure use, excluding use by those who live in them permanently, those who are unable to return home and critical workers where they need to for work
Food retailers, food markets, and hardware stores can remain open, while garden centres and certain other retailers can reopen from May 13.
It comes as all non-essential stores have been closed since March 23 due to coronavirus following government orders.
Homeware stores were recently allowed to reopen, but clothing retailers' stores remain shut.
In order to make up for the lost sales, many retailers are going to be forced to discount its products.
Some have already started sales, including New Look and H&M offering up to 60 and 70 per cent off, respectively.
For example, H&M has slashed the price of a jersey top from £9.99, down to just £3.
While New Look has reduced a leopard print jumpsuit from £27.99 to £15.
Figures published this week by the Office for National Statistics showed that retail sales fell a record 18.1 per cent in April compared to previous months.
Clothing sales were the hardest hit, falling by 50.2 per cent compared to March.
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There are also likely to be big discounts across non-fashion retailers.
Theo Paphitis, owner of the Ryman and Robert Dyas chains, told The Times: “We were already preparing for our spring sale when the stores were shut and I imagine that when the rest of the high street opens it will all be on sale.
"There will definitely be some fantastic bargains to be had.”
Meanwhile, some retailers are hoping that a strong bounce in customer demand will limit the need for discounting.
Laura Tenison, chief executive of JoJoMamanBebe, said: “Where the shops are closed and full of spring fashions, they will have to go into sale.
"But we are going to try and hold our nerve and do it later because I believe we will have a late summer and when the government says it’s safe to have gatherings, there will be celebrations and demand for party dresses again."
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Last month, Debenhams launched a 30 per cent off sale despite being on the verge of administration.
And in March, Next launched an up to 75 per cent off sale.
Meanwhile, Boohoo profits and sales have surged as coronavirus lockdown forces more shoppers online.