Appealing to cash-strapped January Sales shoppers is a tricky business and there are many approaches that can be adopted.

Cleaning up the mess left after Christmas is one way of looking at the January/Winter Sales season.

Judging by the size of the banners informing shoppers of what lies within, there are more than a few leftovers to contend with as we move into 2017 proper.

Yet even when it comes to selling off what remains, there are substantial differences between the major retailers as far as visual merchandising is concerned.

It is even possible to spot the brand by the manner in which it deals with the event.

Clarks, Regent Street



It’s hard not to admire Clarks’ snowy Georgian street scene

At the top of the Sales treatment tree in London is Clarks.

It’s hard not to admire its snowy Georgian street scene, picked out in varying shades of white, with backlighting behind the stage-set.

The visual merchandising team at Clarks also understands the power of limiting the number of colours in a window – the red word ‘Sale’ gains impact by dint of the contrast with the white backdrop.

There are just three shoes amidst all of this, but it is likely that, owing to their relative scarcity as part of this vignette, the shopper will note them and want to know more.

It is the level of detail in this window that really marks it out – however Clarks is clearly prepared to invest in its clearance event in much the same way as it does in the run-up to Christmas.  

H&M, Oxford Street

There are a number of retailers in the West End that have opted to take a very minimalist approach to the sales, with Zara, H&M and Cos standing out.

With a neutral backdrop, the obligatory red ‘SALE’ letters on the glass, and a bevy of mannequins showing some of the bargains to be had, the H&M kid’s window, immediately to the east of Oxford Circus, is a case in point.

Whether this is about saving money on a window scheme or whether it is about focusing the mind on a single, powerful message is a moot point. But the gaze is drawn by how so much is made of relatively little.

Lush, Oxford Street  

Lush jpg

Lush jpg

The banner is surrounded by foliage, making this a window scheme about bounty and nature, rather than discounted merchandise

The Lush flagship on Oxford Street feels like a party shop – the single, framed Sale banner in the window is in keeping with this.

In place of the usual red there is a scene featuring bees and flowers, providing a sense of a new season, set against a black background.

The effect is to remind the onlooker of Lush’s natural credentials. The “Half price and ripe for the picking” message that accompanies the scene reinforces this.

Cunningly, the banner is surrounded by foliage, making this a window scheme about bounty and nature, rather than discounted merchandise.

Cos, Regent Street

Competing by exception is a standard mantra in most forms of commerce, and Cos shows how this can work when applied to a Sale window.

There is no Cos merchandise displayed, and if the shopper didn’t know that this is was a fashion retailer, they would be none the wiser when looking at the window.

That doesn’t really matter, however, as Cos shoppers will be well aware of the proposition.

A pyramid of grey globes with a single rogue orange globe off to the side, will inform those in the know that there is something different on offer in this store.  

Cos serves a very specific shopper and the plain Scandi feel to its windows is likely to appeal to the faithful at a time when others just throw red banners at the matter of clearance.

Jacamo and SimplyBe, Regent Street

Jacomo 2

Jacomo 2

There was a sense of desperation at Jacamo

“Destination Christmas” screamed budget fashion retailer Jacamo’s window last week – which did look a mite optimistic on January 4, at a time when it was endeavouring to get shot of stock that remained unsold.

This sense of desperation was added to by a large red Jacomo sale banner, a portion of which had parted company with the window to which it was supposed to be attached.

This was compounded by a smaller yellow banner at the base of the window that read: “Further Reductions”. There may yet be more on the way…