Editorial

Black Friday: Super sales or giant flop?

Last year, bumper discount day, Black Friday, raised 810 million for retailers in the UK. This US retail import traditionally takes place the day after Thanksgiving (for those of us who aren’t American, that’s November 27th).

In 2014, a number of major UK retailers, including supermarkets and department stores, took part in the sales event. Some crowds reportedly became chaotic as shoppers jostled to reach cut-price goods.

In 2015, many UK retailers have staggered bargains throughout November. This tallies with safety advice from The National Police Chiefs’ Council, which suggests sales over longer periods. Speaking to the BBC, deputy chief constable Sue Fish said: “I urge retail companies and their store managers to ensure that they have sufficient security arrangements.” She also encouraged stores to see police intervention as a last resort, not an alternative for in-store security plans.

So, will Black Friday be a success? It’s too soon to tell. The Centre for Retail Research suggests flash sales may simply bring forward spending that would otherwise occur in mid-December.

More than one major retailer has chosen to opt out in 2015. Asda will be toning down this year’s sales and Pets at Home has announced that it won’t be taking part. The pet retailer will instead be focusing its efforts on ‘Do Good Friday’, a day based around charitable initiatives that encourage customers to ‘paws for thought’.

Scott Jefferson, marketing director at Pets at Home, said: “Whilst shoppers scout out the best deals on Black Friday, it’s easy to forget that this is also the season of goodwill.

“We want to focus our efforts this Black Friday on doing some good for pets who really need our help. We’ll have some great deals in-store and online too, so customers can do their bit for charity whilst simply doing their shopping!”

Will this strategy increase or decrease sales? It remains to be seen, but the rest of the pet industry will be watching with interest.

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