Seventy five out of 100 high street retailers surveyed by PwC were on sale or advertising promotions in their shop windows, compared to 40 in 2009.
This year's level of sales activity was flat compared to the same time last year, 73%. It was 70% in 2011 and 60% in 2010. The average price discounts being advertised were 47%, the same as last year – and up slightly from 45% in 2011 and 2010.
Neil McTiffin, partner and retail expert, PwC Manchester, said: "It's easy to get the impression that all the high street and online too is on sale and that this is a reaction to the absence, or hopefully late appearance, of summer this year. However, the truth is that sales have been starting earlier each year and this year just continues the trend.
"I believe that online is impacting our seasonal buying cycles. Autumn lines have been previewed since early May and the ability to reserve ahead is commonplace. So, for the British fashion buyer there are two options – buy ahead and get your pick of the trends, or wait and get a bargain. The British consumer wins both ways in this 'total retail' world."