Sale away with a bargain

Kidderminster Shuttle: Sale away with a bargain Sale away with a bargain

Identify your shopping traits and strengthen your bargaining power. Lisa Haynes reveals how to navigate the sales rails.

You've shopped until you dropped but it's not over yet... The moment all your carefully hand-picked presents are unwrapped on Christmas morning, the attention can shift to, well, you.

Come Boxing Day, the sales are the chance to indulge in the things you really want that were mysteriously left off Santa's delivery rounds.

The great post-Christmas cull is the time to bag a genuine bargain. For the truly dedicated, some retailers begin their price zapping on December 25, while most of us are still tucking into turkey and sprouts.

Brits are tightening their purse strings, with over 34 million (71%) trying to be more careful to save money now compared to five years ago, according to new research from Barclaycard Freedom Rewards (barclaycard.co.uk/freedomrewards). A shop-savvy 4% admit to starting their Christmas shopping in January.

"Technology has changed the way we approach the January sales," says Neil Saunders, managing director of Conlumino retail research agency.

"Many more of us are doing research and price comparisons to find the best bargains out there but the basic thrill of getting a product at a discount has not changed."

Identify your shopper tribe and let the sales force be with you.

Bargain hunter gatherer

You define yourself as a serious shopper. The Bargain Hunter Gatherer isn't one to rush into the sales; they bide their time and wait until the right price comes up, according to the Barclaycard research.

"The Bargain Hunter Gatherer is someone who has a purse full of loyalty cards, someone who thinks, 'It's not about where I shop, it's about how I can get it for less,'" says Dorothy Yen, retail expert and senior marketing lecturer at Brunel University.

"It's value for money that makes the Bargain Hunter Gatherer tick. So much so, you might buy something with the idea you might use it in the future."

Sales tip: Avoid over-buying and being left with 'bargains of the century' that you don't actually need. Try to resist the desire for impulse buys that are totally impractical. Instead, aim to buy clothes and shoes for the season ahead so you have six months' worth of use.

Screen saver

The computer screen or tablet is your e-version of the high street. The Screen Saver doesn't frequent stores that often, instead choosing to shop across websites, apps and mobile on-the-move.

Brands are all-important with the Screen Saver being extremely loyal to favourite e-stores.

"The Screen Saver is someone who enjoys being social and connected with their shopping," explains Professor Zahir Irani, head of Business School at Brunel University.

"They tend to listen to friends about what's hot and what's not with fashion, and like to discuss purchases with their social circle."

Sales tip: Try heading to the high street to attack the sales. Stores often have different offers to websites and you can get face-to-face interaction if you need shopping assistance. Shop with a group of friends so you still get that connected feeling you get from online.

Profit prophet

Savings, savings, savings, you practically have pound signs in your eyes. The Profit Prophet is the biggest saver of the lot. Impulse buys or going 'off list' is out of character.

"The Profit Prophet always plans ahead, never leaves the house without a shopping list, and is a master when it comes to making the most of the sales," reveals Craig Evans, Barclaycard partnerships director.

"They know exactly when to hit stores, have a plan of attack and like to budget wisely, maximising every single penny of their spend. It's commonplace for them to be buying winter coats in July and beach shorts in January."

Sales tip: Hit the sales with a set budget but without a shopping list. You might just be surprised at the off-piste bargains you'll find, especially if you go to final mark-down sales, such as when there's 70% off. Sign up to online sales alerts so that you can maximise your spending power.

High street pounder

You're a proud haggler and can hold your own with even the most experienced market holder. The High Street Pounder loves to negotiate a bargain and good face-to-face service is critical in wooing for a purchase, Barclaycard reveals.

"The High Street Pounder is someone with a real love of their local community," explains Maged Ali, digital marketing lecturer at Brunel University.

"There is a real sense that if you give to your local community you'll get something back, and because of this the High Street Pounder is really attached to their hometown and the local shops. They tend to adore shopping."

Sales tip: Your constant haggling may disgruntle even the most kind-hearted independent shop owners. Make sure you time your negotiations right and don't take it too far. Try a department store sale at a brand with excellent customer focus, like John Lewis or M&S.

Get the look

Make like Made In Chelsea's Millie Mackintosh and stay snug with a faux fur and novelty hat over the festive season. Get her Love Label Fur Ombre Coat now, £69, and bear hat, £10 (available end December); both Very.co.uk

Buy it now

Christmas shopping done? You'll want to sleep for a thousand years in The Cross's starry Sequin Embroidered Eyemask, £45 (thecrossshop.bigcartel.com).

Fashion flash

:: Black magic

The trusty LBD holds the number one spot as the nation's favourite Christmas party outfit. Almost half (43%) of British women named the iconic style as their go-to party dress choice, according to a survey of 2,000 UK shoppers by eBay. One-in-four decided to opt for a sparkly number this festive season. The average cost of a new ensemble is £36, and two-thirds (61%) revealed plans to purchase at least one new outfit for the party season.

:: Recessionista alert

Rihanna is an unexpected fan of supermarket style. The singer was spotted wearing a pair of Dance Joggers from F&F at Tesco, priced just £7 in the sale. Causing a fan stampede, said sweatpants have now jogged off and sold out but you can find a similar pair for £12 in grey (www.clothingattesco.com).

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