Canny bargain hunters take wind out of sales

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FEWER Christmas shoppers in Yorkshire wait for the January sales with retailers now slashing prices year-round, according to new research.

Some of the biggest bargains are to be had today, when many brands are set to offer huge discounts to mark Black Friday – traditionally the most frenzied shopping day of the festive season in the US and predicted to cement itself in Britain this year.

Hammerson, owners of Leeds’s Victoria Quarter shopping arcade and the new Victoria Gate complex, found more than 70 per cent of people in Yorkshire believe the January sales have become less important in recent years.

Nearly 35 per cent think items bought in the sales are unnecessary and a waste of money, according to its survey of 2,000 people.

A quarter of shoppers in the region still wait to buy their most expensive gifts in the sales, however.

A third of buyers said they researched presents online before heading to the shops, but just under half of the men surveyed were less organised and admitted to waiting until the last minute to buy gifts.

Shoppers splashed out most on children, spending an average of £188 on them, followed by £88 on partners.

Most people said they would buy a gift for a pet or colleague over their grandparents.

Alex Petit, group head of insight at Hammerson, said: “Shoppers have adopted a steely determination when it comes to festive gift buying. The internet has undoubtedly contributed towards this.

“Consumers can now be more prepared, allowing them to make only one or two major trips, close to Christmas.”

He added: “The January sales have lost some of their impact as a result of more frequent discounting.”