The Boxing Day sale that wasn’t: Myer brings forward big discounts to Christmas Eve

Department store Myer is bringing forward its December sales by two days, informing loyalty card holders they can receive “Boxing Day” discounts on Christmas Eve.

The decision caps a disastrous fortnight for retail, with Kathmandu, Billabong and JB Hi-Fi among the big names warning of lower profits and tougher conditions.

And it comes at a key time for the sector – the Australian Retailers Association says retailers can make up to 40% of their annual sales over the Christmas period.

In an email to MYER one customers entitled, “Your preview to Australia’s Biggest Stocktake Sale catalogue,” the department store says the customers can “enjoy a selection of fantastic offers from Australia’s Biggest Stocktake Sale, two days early!”

Cardholders are told to visit the Myer website from 6pm on Christmas Eve to “enjoy early online access to our super savings!”

The “150 million dollar clearance” includes discounts of up to 50% across womenswear, intimate apparel, menswear, childrenwear, homewares and electrical.

The offers include $100 off Apple products and substantial discounts on furniture, bedding, luggage, homewares, cameras and 20% off electronic goods.

ARA head Russell Zimmerman says Myer is “looking for a jump on other retailers” and the sale is not an admission that December sales have disappointed so far.

“Was I surprised? No, I’m not,” Zimmerman says.

“Retailers are always looking for innovative ways to bring in customers.”

He added: “Some people don’t like crowds, so why wouldn’t you give people the chance to buy at home on the couch?”

Andre Sammartino, senior lecturer in international business and strategic management at the University of Melbourne, notes that pre-Christmas sale signs emerged during the height of the global financial crisis, and have continued this year.

Writing in the Conversation website, he argues that Myer’s and David Jones’ online sites are one “possible path for revitalisation.”

“Mixing “bricks” and “clicks” should be the focus for Australian retailers large and small. Retailers with extensive store networks do have advantages in terms of showcasing physical goods, delivering online purchases and offering collection points,” Sammartino writes.

“Replicating the shopping environment online extends the reach and the opening hours of such store networks. Highly specialised (and localised) retailers who also offer their wares online have the scope to broaden their appeal, overcome geographical constraints, and potentially improve their own buying power with suppliers.”

Myer general manager corporate affairs Jo Lynch was contacted for comment this morning, but was not available prior to publication.

Rival department store David Jones was also contacted to see whether it would follow suit.

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