Last year was effectively our first experience of Black Friday and the vast majority of UK retail embraced it with enthusiasm. Once the dust had settled and the implications became clearer that enthusiasm gave way to pragmatism. Most are doing Black Friday but in a more managed, lower key way. We didn’t see the chaos or mayhem of last year but we also haven’t see the shops attract anything like the footfall expected. Online has taken a much bigger share that expected.
The results of this are not great. Websites still crashed at various times of the day. Stores were over stocked and over staffed. This year’s event will be every bit as economically damaging as last year’s. Higher cost of sales and lower margins from spend brought forward from December. And December sales will be hit – spending is finite.
A year of relentless price promotions, every month in every sector, has resulted in shopper and retailer fatigue. The constant diet of discount noise from shop windows and website landing pages is bound to take its toll, and clearly it has.
Our research shows that 26% of High Street retailers rejected Black Friday. Notably, some retailers simply ignored it – Next and Primark among them. Some ran other kinds of promotions like Asda, Harrods and White Stuff, and others actually promoted the fact that they were opting out – Fat Face and Jigsaw are excellent examples.
Next year I expect Black Friday to arrive again, but the number of retail opt outs will be higher still. Last year will have been its peak and the most barmy US retail import we have made will continue its gradual journey to being a none event.
** Our Promotional Tracker shows who does what, when and how. We also forecast retail sales for Christmas and beyond. For access details -firstname.lastname@example.org