Burberry has said fewer retailers on the high street have started their Sales early this year, pointing to the emergence of better price discipline. 

Chief financial officer for the luxury group Stacey Cartwright said: “In the run-up to Christmas people were breaking for Sale early but in spring/summer 2009 people seem more disciplined.” She said if consumers were holding off for prices to drop they will have “missed out” as retailers tighten their inventory.

Cartwright said less stock for autumn/winter is one reason why Burberry’s wholesale revenue dropped 28 per cent in the three months to June 30.

Ernst & Young retail director Jason Gordon said that discounting levels for summer Sales had only been a fraction deeper than last year, at about 1 per cent. However, research by Ernst & Young found that high street retailers on average went on Sale about 10 days earlier than last year.

Gordon said that although luxury customers were not immune to the downturn retailers had to look at more “appropriate levels of discounting” to avoid brand damage.