It may be too soon to put up the Christmas lights, but it’s not too soon for retailers to plan how they can capitalise on the festive events geared to get shoppers spending

Is it Christmas already?

Christmas is fast approaching and retailers will already been planning for some time how they can best promote themselves to win their share of the festive sales. Shopping destinations have started to advertise special shopping events to draw customers into their areas.

Who is running events?

Shopping destinations across the UK will be organising events between now and Christmas. In London these include a Carnaby Christmas shopping party on November 18 and traffic-free shopping event on Oxford Street on November 27.

How do they work?

They are all different but most will include money-off discounts, exclusive offers, and entertainment. The Carnaby Shopping event, in association with Grazia, gives shoppers 20% discount in more than 100 shops, bars and restaurants, while Oxford Street’s traffic-free event includes more than £500,000 worth of free entertainment, events, rewards and promotions.

How can retailers get the best out of the events?

Retailers should participate in the overall discount scheme, but if possible, should also offer something extra to pull in shoppers.

In Carnaby for example many of the retailers are hosting free activities including Hilfiger Denim hosting a ‘Made for You’ evening where a team of artists will help customise their jeans in store, Aqua will offer a free goodie bag with every purchase, stores including Boutique by Jaeger, and WeSc will offer free drinks.

How lucrative are these events for retailers?

If they are organised well and all retailers are united, they can be very lucrative. Last year the Oxford Street traffic-free day, called the Shop West End VIP Day, shoppers spent about £200m on the day. Organiser New West End Company has added a further two hours to this year’s event and expects sales of about £250m.

What other Christmas events can retailers get involved with?

Another key Christmas event is the switching on of the Christmas lights in key shopping destinations. This year Regent Street’s Christmas lights will have a Narnian theme to celebrate the release of 3D film The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

Meanwhile, Carnaby will have a space age theme for its Christmas decorations. Giant inflatable globes will be suspended above the streets surrounded by planets, stars and sputniks, alongside life-size Santas in space suits.