A year ago I wrote about ‘January sales with style, Berlin’ (see blog post from 9th January 2015), looking at how the German’s minimalistic approach to presentation created a very tasteful looking sale. The subtlety of just the word ‘sale’ was enough to draw customers in and some had even opted to stay away from the classic colour red, usually associated with the sale period, preferring to use black or even a neutral kraft coloured point of sale material.

Yesterday, with this in mind I visited Manchester to review this year’s January sales. Retailers such as Next and Primark didn’t spend long focusing on their sale and have gone straight to their spring window scheme so they appear fresh and inspiring looking forward to the next season. While others seemed to be following in the steps of the ideas I saw in Berlin last year with tasteful and minimalistic sale signage. This works well to maintain the quality and presentation of their products during an often visually unattractive period.

House of Fraser have maintained their usual full price merchandising standards to create a very dignified sale event.

The White Company, French Connection and Diverso showed the effective use of white.

Other retailers used repetition to create an impactive message across several windows.

Unfortunately there are still those who don’t seemed to have got it right and appear to have created ‘visual mayhem’ rather than visual excitement which cheapens the brand and product. This seemed to be mainly amongst more budget retailers.

In summary the key to successful sale signage is-

  • Use one clear message
  • It’s not essential to use the colour red, white or black also work well
  • Simple & minimal displays maintaining the same visual standards for full price stock.
  • Symmetrical and repetitive signage also help to make it visually pleasing.



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