Debenhams was founded 243 years ago in 1778 – but prices during the last month of its high street life are ruled by the one maxim that never goes out of fashion.
And that’s supply and demand.
Dive into its apparent bargains too soon and you might end up paying over the odds, even in a closing-down sale.
Hang on too long… and the item you want from Debenhams in the Bullring might be gone for good.
That prized dress will only be available for someone twice or half your size, the shoes you wanted will have a left foot missing, the plate set will have sold out or someone else will have taken home a stack of Ferrero Rocher chocolates that could have been yours for half price if you hadn’t waited for them to go down a bit more.
Got a growing teenage lad in the house? How about a ‘Braun all-in-one trimmer’ for £19.80 instead of £33 or there’s the Babyliss face and body grooming shaver for £18, down 40 per cent from £30.
Ladies might be more interested in a Remington Hydra Luxe hairdryer, down from £55 to £33.
With online retailer Boohoo having bought the chain’s name for a comparative song, read on to see the kind of prices we found when the store reopened along with other ‘non-essential’ shops on April 12.
Price versus value
Who knows what will happen to prices in the 33 days from the store reopening to May 15 (or sooner) when it closes?
One theory to perhaps keep you feeling optimistic is that the Bullring store is one of the largest Debenhams in the country.
So as other stores are depleted, perhaps they will close before May 15 and their end-of-line stocks will be shipped into Brum.
At this juncture, you might do well to remember the old saying: “He who hesitates is lost.”
Or to consider this advice about value, from the leading Victorian art critic and thinker John Ruskin.
He said: “It’s unwise to pay too much, but it’s worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money – that’s all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything.”
Bargains? You decide…
Here’s a sample of ten of the best bargains we found during a one-hour trawl around the shop, which included everything from perfumes to pillows, plates and pullovers.
So many Ps, but then, as every canny shopper knows, if you “look after the pennies, the pounds will look after themselves.”
And here’s something else to remember: House of Fraser also has many items at 50 per cent off at its often-overlooked store on Corporation Street!
1. Half price watches
Does anyone still wear or even want a watch these days… when everyone has a phone?
If you do Debenhams has a range of half-price watches, including Ted Baker and Storm models with original price tags of around £150 and £145 respectively.
2. Shoes and boots
How about a pair of leopard skin ankle boots, ladies?
Once £135 they are now down to £39.
A bit too Theresa May… or do cats always rule?
Some gents shoes – carefully arranged by size on various shelves – had 60 per cent off their original price, even for £70 shoes. So I make that £28 and where can you get shoes for that these days?
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3. Gentlemen’s v-neck pullover in a lovely charcoal colour. Merino wool, too, and down from £50 to £15.
Soz, I bought that one… with the size risk that you can’t try it on before you buy, nor return it unless it’s faulty.
But there were other colours… and while I’d consider £40 to be the regular price of merino wool jumper, that’s a saving far bigger than the actual amount you are paying.
4. Face creams
Are you up to speed with Japanese Shiseido creams?
No, me neither.
But if you fancy eye cream at £33.50 instead of £67 or ‘uplifting firming crem’ for £61 instead of £122, in the hope they deliver what they promise, there was quite a bit of the stuff in fairness.
Are you a fan of eau de toilette by Terre D’Hermes?
A box set of three bottles was down to £57.99 from £87.
Worth a sniff?
Or there was the Ralph Lauren blue Polo set, down 50 per cent from £74 to £37.
6. Mugs’ game
Marmite always divides opinion.
So if you go home with a cup that looks like a jar, you know any parents who hate the stuff will say: “You mug.”
Your riposte will be that you paid £5 and not £10 – and so you’re not as daft as you look.
Calling all Ferrero Rocher fans.
If you love the chocolates wrapped in gold you probably won’t mind that they come in boxes shaped like Christmas trees.
Not when they cost £3.75 instead of £7.50.
Biscuits in tins shaped like hardbacked books are also half price at £5.
8. Trousers, coats and tees
Get yer trousers on the desk by the till…
Jasper Conran jeans are down 70 per cent from £45 to just £13.50.
Surely they can’t go any lower…
Other clothing items included ‘biker coats’ down 50 per cent to £34.50, t-shirts down 60 per cent to £5.20 and by 70 per cent to £4.80; Unibias puffer jackets down 70 per cent to £22.50; Calvin Klein briefs down 40 per cent to £12.60 and plain chinos half-price at £10.
9. Go pottery
Like Debenhams, pottery firm Denby can claim to be a 200-year-old business.
There are boxes of 12-piece dinnerware sets with £152 stickers on them, all sitting below a 50 per cent off sign.
So presumably you would pay £76 for four dinner plates, four small plates and four cereal bowls.
10. Big snooze
After all that hard work bargain hunting, sleep tight with a 10.5 tog duvet by Sarah-Jayne.
The list price is apparently £54.99, but with 50 per cent off they can be yours for £27.49 each.
If you need a soft toy for a child’s bedroom, there’s a whole wall full of owls and a creature called Fox Hottie – down from £15 to £7.50. It’s hard to see this lot disappearing any time soon so hang on here for another price reduction I reckon.
If you go home celebrating how much you’ve saved you might want to pour yourself a tot of Sadlers Peaky Blinder Irish Whiskey.
And you’ll enjoy it all the more because it’s down 40 per cent.