Bad weather makes for juicy sales

On Monday, many shops on the streets of Munich began their summer sales. Bad weather means that "% SALE" signs are appearing prematurely in many shop windows and is providing the savvy shopper with plenty of bargains.

The summer sales -Sommerschlussverkauf or SSV -have now started in earnest in an attempt to empty the shelves of summer stock. Bargain hunters will be happy to hear that about two-thirds of high-street shops in Munich are participating in the SSV, giving discounts of up to 70%.

According to the Münchner Merkur, Bernd Ohlmann, spokesman for the Trade Union of Bavaria stated "Everything must go, this is the motto." The feedback from the market has shown that the bad weather has had disastrous effects on this summer's shopping trend. As a result of this, Ohlmann says that, "... the closing summer sale this year will start one week earlier," giving shoppers the chance to stock up before their summer holidays.

In 2004, there was a change in the law, stating that these summer sales were no longer limited to certain goods. Therefore furniture and electrical shops are also participating in this year's early sales. "Most shops participate in the traditional sale," said Ohlmann. A survey done by the consultantcy firm Ernst & Young has revealed that some companies offer discounts up to 20 times per year. Many customers have started to take these sales for granted. The numerous discounts and sales that now litter the changing retail seasons have slowly swallowed up the meaning of the SSV. "The days when customers eagerly awaited the start of the final sale are now sadly over," says Wolfgang Fischer, head of the Munich-based retail association "City Partner". Nevertheless, the classical start date for the SSV is late July, and most businesses still stick to it.

Fischer claims that due to a lack of sustained summer weather, people have been hesitant when it comes to buying summer wear. "So many items are reduced even more than usual this year." At many retail businesses there will be an increasing demand for autumn lines, and subsequently the pressure is greater to get rid of the summer stock.
Ohlmann has the ultimate tip for successful bargain hunters, "First come, first served."

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