5 years, 10 months ago
A new year is just around the corner so obviously it’s time for me to ask; have you started stretching yet? Have you bought that brand new pair of running shoes you promised yourself? I hope you’ve also invested in some elbow pads and a helmet.
Am I talking about preparations for a new year’s fitness challenge? Nope. I’m wondering how ready you are for the January Sales.
With words like “scrum”, “horde” and “mob” often being used to describe the crowds that descend on some of the world’s biggest and best sales, the winter sales are not for the faint-hearted, but done right they are a great way to enjoy a new city. I did a little research and here are ten of the best January Sales around the world I recommend. On your marks, get set, go!
Visitors fly in to London from all over the world for the UK capital’s January Sales, which strictly speaking start on 26th December. The day after Christmas is also called Boxing Day locally, though I assure you this does not relate to the tactics you need to employ to beat your way through the crowds in Harrods in Knightsbridge or Selfridges on Oxford Street. My best advice for avoiding the crowds is to head to high streets in the suburbs and be sure to check how late the shops stay open.
New York City, USA
The January Sales begin a little later in The Big Apple with famous department stores like Bloomingdales and Macy’s chopping prices from early January onwards. However, for the best bargains follow those in the know upstate to Woodbury Commons a huge outlet mall that sells designer and luxury brands at eye-poppingly low prices.
Despite having enough museums and art galleries to keep any visitor happy for a year or two, Paris is as much a shopping destination as a sight-seeing city-break. With historic department stores like Galleries Lafayette and Le Printemps and smaller shopping enclaves like Les Halles, Passage de Grand Cerf and Viaduc des Arts, come 8th January 2014, Paris will have reduced shopping for everyone.
credit: *Crazy Diamond*
Never outside the top five shopping cities in the world, Dubai may not celebrate Christmas, but it’s happy to indulge in the seasonal sales. Considering the city’s airport has more shops than the average shopping centre, the one month-long Dubai Shopping Festival – which starts on January 2nd – is only for the fittest and most experienced shopping pro.
In addition to the usual reductions across all goods, Rome is a haven for accessories shopping with more than its fair share of boutiques selling beautiful shoes and designer handbags – a good or bad thing depending on your budget and luggage restrictions! The other upside of shopping in Rome is that the main shopping district is littered with many of the city’s most famous sights including the Spanish Steps and Campo de’ Fiori. January Sales begin on 5th January 2014.
If you’re a little slow to get pennies saved in time for the January Sales, Hong Kong may be the shopping Mecca you should head thanks to the biggest reductions coinciding with Chinese New Year at the end of the month. With a 10% increase in retail sales for the last few years and up to 50% off prices in Hong Kong’s huge malls, expect a shopping experience on a grand scale.
Singapore’s biggest sales actually take place in the summer, thanks to a city wide event called the “Great Singapore Sale”, but that doesn’t mean January doesn’t see some worthy reductions in the city’s many designer and department stores along Orchard Road, which also have special sales to celebrate Chinese New Year. For more independent boutiques head to Haji Lane, and Bugis Lane is your best bet for a bargain.
The UK’s second most visited city, Edinburgh is another great shopping destination disguised as a historical hub of culture. The main shopping area is around Princes Street and you should definitely pop your head in Jenners just to admire the 19th century interior of the grand hall. Sales start at the end of December and reductions will continue throughout January.
credit: Bert Kaufmann
Not known for its shopping as such, Lisbon is one of the most beautiful cities to go shopping in thanks to the sunlight bouncing off the marble mosaic floors and white stone buildings found along the pedestrianised Rua Augusta, the city’s main shopping district. Alternatively, head to the upmarket Príncipe Real, where you can find more independent stores and a picturesque park and gardens to grab a coffee in. January Sales begin in late December and will carry on into February.
Last but not least is Tokyo, not just home to the world’s best electronics shopping in Akihabara, but also a pioneer of winter sales thanks to Japan’s new year’s tradition of “Fukubukuro” a unique concept of giving out “goody” or “happy” bags which are filled with a mystery collection of the shop’s produce, bought at considerable discount. As popular as the sales themselves, many shops will see people queuing up for hours on New Year’s Day to carry away a Fukubukuro from their favourite store.
Are you feeling strong enough to face the January Sales of 2014? If so, where will you be heading? I’d love to hear your tips for surviving the retail madness and still walking away with some bargains.
Featured image by World of Good