Several large high street stores have decided not to participate in Black Friday sales, even as spending is set to soar in the UK this year.
Next, a late adopter of Black Friday sales, saw great success in previous years with high demand for its discounted clothes, furniture and homeware, but this year has decided to avoid levying similar discounts. The move comes after the retailer reported that its in-store sales had been badly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and loss in customer footfall, down to half of volumes seen in 2019.
Marks & Spencer also confirmed that it would not be offering any “specific Black Friday deals”, in keeping with a pattern that it has set in previous years. Instead, it will “focus on offering great value and deals throughout the whole festive season” – a line echoed by homeware chain Wilko, which said it intends to offer “great value products at great prices every day” rather than implementing Black Friday discounts.
Discount chain B&M linked its decision not to offer Black Friday sales to the dangers of the COVID-19 pandemic. A spokesperson said that their strategy of season-long sales “avoids excessive crowds on any one day”.
Black Friday is often seen as a key trading day in the lead-up to the Christmas period, with many traditional and online retailers treating it as the unofficial beginning of end-of-year holiday sales.
Lloyds Bank expects Black Friday spending in-store to hit $750 million this year, up from £718 last year, though 2020’s longer sales period and greater overall retailer participation make it difficultl to draw comparisons with previous years.
More than two-thirds of shoppers have delayed a purchase in anticipation of finding a bargain during the sale, according to Lloyds.