WITH the shops packed to the rafters with discounted products and keen shoppers, the sales can be both exciting – and overwhelming.

Slashed prices mean you can pick up a great bargain, but it can sometimes be tricky to know if you're actually getting a good deal.

Especially with all the clever tricks shops can use to make you spend more in the sales without you even realising.

Here Dr Amna Khan, senior lecturer in consumer behaviour and retail at Manchester Metropolitan University, shares her advice to ensure you're confident you're actually getting a good deal.

She says: "Consumers are thinking about the fact they are going to grab a bargain, and that has a huge impact on them psychologically, so there’s a lot of impulse purchasing in the sales.

“One of the ways you can find out if you’re getting a good deal is there are many trackers online now where you can do comparison checks, and you can also check if that item has been sold at a cheaper price previously.


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“There are comparison websites which gives consumers a sense of how much of a discount they’re actually getting.

“There were reports from Black Friday sales that products were actually cheaper at some point in the year before.

"We know that in this year’s Black Friday sales, only one in seven items were actually real deals – the rest had been cheaper at other points in the year.

"However this January I really do feel the reductions will be significant so consumers will be getting some great bargains.

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"The products on sale are often not going to be seasonally relevant anymore, so retailers push all of their seasonal clothes, shoes and accessories, that might not be timeless.

“Fashion is a good one to buy because it’s so seasonal, especially high fashion.

"Shoes, especially party shoes which would have been popular for Christmas parties, will go down quite significantly."

It's also a great time to buy presents and gifts, and items you may want to keep for next Christmas – something shop bosses bank on you not doing.

Dr Khan adds: “Nobody really wants to buy presents immediately after Christmas, so [for the retailer] that’s the perfect time to put the sale on – although consumers have now got wise to this, and have started gifting money, gift cards and vouchers.

Dr Khan has also revealed the tricks and techniques shops use to encourage buyers to spend more during sales.

For example, sometimes retailers may use a clever technique also make items seem more 'exclusive' and 'in demand' so you're more likely to want to quickly snap it up before it's too late.

Amna says: “They may put less stock actually out so there’s only a few items on the shelves, but actually there’s a whole stock room full of them.

"This makes you feel like you’ve nabbed the last bargain when actually they may have loads more in the back.

“Sometimes if retailers want to give the perception an item is really valuable they’ll just put a few out to make you feel like you’ve got the last one, which will make you buy it a lot quicker."

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