Department stores launch promotions

By Sandra Chuang, The China Post

On Mother’s Day, a promotion war is getting hot among departments. It is reported that department stores have begun to offer big discounts earlier this year, roughly from mid-April, in an attempt to boost sales amid the slowing economy.

According to a recent survey by the Department Stores and Retailers Association, the overall gross profit of its member companies dropped 3 percent over the same period last year. Of the island’s five market divisions, Kaohsiung area performed the worst, down 14 percent from the same period of the previous year.

Due to the lower-than-expected gains, most department stores began to offer big discounts earlier than ever for drawing customers back. Spring clothes and cosmetics were mostly sold at prices of 35-percent off.

Shoppers explained that the early spring discount did help them to promote their merchandise and clear their inventory. “Compared with the first quarter, the flow traffic of customers seems to have been improved now,” said the sale manager of a local department store.

This year in particular, some stores have extended their promotion deadline for the celebrations of Mother’s Day and president’s inauguration, both falling in May. The various promotion activities include bonuses for shopping-card holders, multiple price discounts for selected items and point-of-purchase displays.