If you think Christmas shopping in London is a magical experience you will love the January Sales. This is one time the benefit of living in or near London is keenly felt—only a resident will have the opportunity to see as much as they want and spend as much time as they need browsing the famous London department stores, independent shops and boutiques for the amazing bargains.
The January sales start Boxing Day in many shops (and are sometimes called the Boxing Day Sales) and last for most of the month of January. London has fantastic shopping areas (see here) but come prepared for crowds as well as bargains. People start arriving in the early hours of the cold Boxing Day morning for the start of some sales, forming queues so long that doormen only allow in a set number of shoppers at a time.
Expect big sales in London this year as retailers try to maintain a flow of sales to survive in the recession.
The world famous department store, Harrods in Knightsbridge has the most popular winter sales because of genuine, big savings on many items, especially the luxury home goods. Anyone interested in designer labels, up to the minute accessories and cosmetics should check out the sales further down the street in Harvey Nichols.
Over on Oxford Street the John Lewis sale starts online the evening of Christmas Eve, and is always a good place for finding a bargain. Sales at Selfridges are a great place to pick up anything from a designer handbag to a beautiful something for the home. Other Oxford Street shops known for the great savings in the January sales are House of Fraser, Marks and Spencer, Topshop and Debenhams.
Fortnum and Mason on Piccadilly is a fun place to wander whether or not you’re shopping, but you may also find a bargain here, especially in the luxury gift foods—a fun treat to save as a hostess gift the next time you go to a dinner party.
Best time for sales shopping
Because most high street stores hold their sales immediately after Christmas, shopping as soon as you can after pulling the crackers will enable you to find the best bargains. However, if you’re not such a keen shopper, or don’t like the idea of elbowing your way through London department stores all day, don’t despair because many shops reduce the prices again later in January as they try to clear the remaining stock.
If you don’t want to venture out at all there is always online shopping. Most shops have an online catalogue and the items in the sale are listed here as well. However, one problem with buying online during the big sales is that stock numbers are not always current and you may also miss the satisfaction of examining the item you’re buying.
The Best Bargains
Department stores are always a safe bet for the sales shopper as everything can be found under one roof—including that cup of coffee and a cake when you need a break!
Or if you have a string of favourite shops along one street, ask in advance what they’re planning on for sales—some shop’s will be very candid, others will be cagey because they want you to buy before the sale hits. Plan your sales shopping for a favourite shopping street, such as the boutiques along King’s Road, or the luxury brands along Bond Street.
John Lewis 27 December – 10 January
Selfridges from 26 December
Topshop from 26 December
Liberty from Boxing Day
Peter Jones 27 December – 10 January
Harvey Nichols from 26 December
Harrods 26 December – 23 January
Fortnum and Mason 27 December – 17 January