SalesTales From The Shop Floor

The Tell-Tale Sign a Sale is Looming

On Wednesday this week I popped into Zara on my lunch break.

As I walked in I noticed racks and racks of clothes grouped by colour, type and occasion and my pulse started to quicken. In my mind this means one thing:


Then I got a little confused. The store wasn’t as busy as it should be for a store wide sale, and as I browsed over the items of clothing that piqued my interest, there wasn’t a mark-down price to be found. I looked up and there wasn’t a single sale sign in the whole store. The store was NOT on sale!

At least, not on sale yet.

For all intents and purposes Zara was set up ready to go on sale. At an educated guess, they were waiting for close of trade so they could mark down the stock and put the signs out in the peace of an empty store. And yet I seemed to be the only person in the store to realise. There were dozens of people still shopping and paying full price!

Sale setup

No one was paying attention to the ONE tell-tale sign a sale was looming:

The visual merchandising of the store had completely changed focus.

The store wasn’t merchandised as usual. Usually in a fashion store they will merchandise their clothes into ‘stories’ so a customer can easily put together a cohesive outfit, it flows visually and so you will spend time browsing through all areas of the store to see what they have to offer.

During sale time though, fashion stores often group their clothing in other ways: by price, style, colour, size, purpose, occasion etc in order to help customers find items with the least fuss when a store is heaving with people. This is exactly how Zara looked. Pictured above.

The store was crammed with stock. Where a store might normally want an item to appear exclusive so they only display a limited range, during sale mode a retailer will usually cram as much as possible onto the floor. This saves them from constantly restocking the floor, or needing to fetch additional sizes and having to pull hands off the point of sale to do it, when those hands could be taking your money instead.

Zara’s racks were so jam-packed I could barely move the hangers to see the clothes or pull out a garment without the adjacent two coming with it and falling on the floor.

The Fitting Room Queue once the sale commenced. 15 people deep, citing to try things on. No thanks.

The Fitting Room queue once the sale commenced. 15 people deep, waiting to try things on. No thanks.


Incidentally, overstocking the floor is a sure-fire sign a homewares store is about to commence a sale. If you spot bulk stacks (bases to stack a bunch of boxed stock on – like a prettier version of a pallet), or what is rather attractively called a ‘dump table’ (like a trestle table but with sides) littering aisle ways and the tables are unusually full, consider postposing your purchase a few days.

If you ever walk into a store and it looks just I how I discribed you know a sale is imminent and you have struck GOLD. Don’t buy a THING! Instead, shop in the luxury of peace and quite, find everything you want, in the size and colour you want, and put it on hold for as long as they will let you. Once its on sale, most stores won’t let you hold stock.

Then, go to their website and sign up to email alerts. That way you know when to pop back in, skip the ridiculous queue to the fitting-room and head straight to the point of sale.

Come the weekend, curiosity was getting the better of me. Zara Australia does not have an online store (Come on Zara! Get it together!) so there was no other way of verifying if my prediction was correct other than traipsing back into store. Low and behold, Zara was on sale and the store was pumping.

Zara Sale

sale merchandising

Previous Post Next Post

You Might Also Like

1 Amazing Comment

  • Reply Kat June 27, 2016 at 10:17 pm

    This is fantastic!! So many tell tale signs to look out for that wouldn’t be obvious to someone who doesn’t/hasn’t worked in retail.

  • Leave a Reply