Wet summer is good news for bargain hunters in Norwich
- Credit: Evening News ©2004
The rain may have dampened summer fun, but it has certainly caused a splash in the city's shops, with seasonal sales seeing discounts of up to 70 per cent off.
British weather is unpredictable at best, but after the dullest June since 1929 and flash flooding which made for the wettest start to summer since 2012, it's safe to say it's been especially miserable of late.
It's not all doom and gloom however, as the lack of sunshine comes with one pretty big perk - the biggest sale to hit the region's shops in three decades, which has seen retailers reducing their prices by up to 70 per cent.
This price drop is due to a combination of less than ideal weather conditions and long-term price deflation according to The British Retail Consortium, the impact of which is evident everywhere you turn in the city centre, with red and white sale signs in most shop windows that tempt you to get out the wallet and grab a bargain.
But the big name brands aren't the only ones cutting prices to cope with recent conditions, independent retailers in the Norwich Lanes are also feeling the price pinch. One such store which has to compete with sales in the city is Imelda's Shoe Boutique on Guildhall Hill, the boutique's Owner, Irene Astley, said: 'The bigger stores definitely dictate our sales, we've tried to hold off as long as we can as we usually don't start reducing prices until a week before the school term has finished, but this year lots of shops in the city had started their sales as early as June and we've been forced to follow suit.
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'Over the last few years we've been adjusting our stock, I don't tend to buy too many summer shoes because the British weather really isn't that great, so instead of purchasing sandals, I tend to opt for closed toe shoes that people can wear with socks or tights if it gets cold. We still order in sandals, just not in a great quantity.'
The Good Earth Clothing Company, located at 10 Pottergate, has also been impacted by recent weather conditions and big brand sales. Richard Harvey, Co-owner of the store said: 'The shops in the city have sales on all the time, so in turn we have to have sales that match them. At present we're roughly two to three weeks behind season, but now that it's starting to get warmer again we're speedily catching back up. It definitely helps that we stock popular brands such as Braintree Fashions, Seasalt and Adini all of which attract visitors to the store. We're also fortunate to be in such a well-established location, if we weren't in the Lanes it would be much harder.'
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He added: 'Whenever certain styles aren't selling, I always ask myself whether it's because of the weather, or whether it's because we've bought wrongly. Then I have to work out whether I reduce the prices or wait for the weather to pick up. It can be a real enigma. We certainly have made some mistakes in the past, but we also make a lot of good decisions and I'm happy with the balance that we've found over the 11 years we've been here.'
Many stores are advertising great deals in order to shift stock as seasons start to change but it can soon become apparent that the savings aren't as great as they initially appear. Sally Francis, senior writer at MoneySavingExpert.com warns shoppers to be careful when heading out into the high street. She said: 'Before you buy anything, ask yourself if you really need it and if you can afford it? Sales are there to tempt us, but many end up buying things they never wear and didn't need. Plus returns policies tend to be less generous in the sales, so you may only get 14 days to return an item rather than 28 or more, or you'll be offered exchange only.'
• What do you think of the summer sales? Are they a great way to save money or just a gimmick to get people through the doors? Share your thoughts in the comments below.