Big stores shun Black Friday, as sale crowds keep away
The big stores went on with “normal” operations on the Black Friday weekend.
Some of UK’s big and popular stores did not participate in the Black Friday craze that for most stores started four days before Friday and lasted 10 days.
High-price stores M &S, Next and the low-cost store Primark, which is very popular with many people in Cardiff, did not participate in Black Friday.
Ms Ann Bladen of M & S said: “This year, we are not having Black Friday offers, we have got our regular offers that we have every Thursday, that we bring out, so they are on-going. We don’t participate, generally in Black Friday, it is a very relatively new thing in the UK… [Black Friday hasn’t affected sales] I think most people are just doing their regular shopping…more people came to shop yesterday [Thursday] evening. We just got … our regular shopping and our regular customers today [Friday].”
Like Ms Bladen said, they were just regular shoppers on the Black Friday weekend. Expected sights of big crowds fighting over items like is the case in Black Friday video clips, were not in any of the Cardiff City malls InterCardiff visited.
For most people in the UK, Black Friday is still a new concept they have not yet got used to. And this was evident from the small numbers of people at different shopping malls, even in shops that offered 50 per cent discounts.
However, for stores like Next, it is not about the concept being new, the idea is below their standard. A Next manager who preferred not to speak on record said: “We don’t need to [participate in Black Friday]. We don’t participate in small sales. We usually have a big one on Boxing Day that we are known for.”
Speaking to InterCardiff on phone, Mr Muhammed Ali, a Next Customer service advisor said: “We are not participating in our stores but online yesterday [Friday], we did have free delivery for that day only…But in terms of our main store, we are not participating.”
After consulting a senior manager of the company, Mr Ali added: “…it was just basically preference that we didn’t participate in Black Friday, we have never really done Black Friday in our stores. The only thing we did was the online offer.”
Like Next, Primark, a low-cost store which had been having reductions on particular items before Black Friday, did not also see a need for Black Friday.
A manager at the store refused to comment on the issue, telling InterCardiff “We just don’t participate in Black Friday” before referring us to the head office for an official comment. InterCardiff was not able to speak with the Primark head office by press time.
Despite the Black Friday weekend seeing cuts on prices of some products in most stores, it was business as usual for most shoppers. Stores like Primark, had their usual large client pool, more than some stores that had special Black Friday discounts. It was the same crowds, nothing out of the ordinary.
Besides Black Friday being a new concept in the UK, the low turn up for special offers in participating stores could have been because of the few items on discount.
Alex Oliver, a customer assistant said: “I don’t think the best deals are available personally on Black Friday. I think for consumers who are looking for the best deals, you are looking for may be the first two weeks before Christmas or even after Christmas, I think you are going to find the best deals. Obviously, January sales, but in terms of Black Friday, it’s not comparable to the deals you are going to get in America. They have 50 per cent on everything.”
Enya, a shopper, said: “There are a lot of big labels outside but when you come into the shop, there are no actual offers. A lot of people have a lot of hopes, but they haven’t bought that much. Like I haven’t seen any offers in this shop I am in.”
What the public thinks about some big stores not participating in Black Friday
“They all should really, a lot of shops do so I don’t see why they wouldn’t get involved … [but] I’m not bothered, I don’t shop there [M & S, Next]. I don’t really miss out.”
“Primark is cheap anyway. I don’t mind them not getting involved. The other stores, it would be good for them to get involved because M & S is expensive. And for a one off, why not? It wouldn’t affect them. They should do it next time.”
“It would be good for the big expensive stores to also get involved. Some people may not afford. It is good to reduce prices just for Christmas.”
“The Black Friday deals [in UK] are on only select items. I don’t think they [M & S, Next] are contributing the way they should. They should be more involved. And it should be a store wide discount.”
What is Black Friday?
The Black Friday sale, is a period, usually after Thanks Giving, when stores offer discounts. According to Cityam.com, “It started back in the 1940s and its rise coincided with the incidence of big department stores and discounters in the US. The day after Thanksgiving, retailers would offer hefty discounts, and families would flock to these stores in order to pick up some bargains.”
However, some stores now start their Black Friday sales days before Friday through the weekend until the middle of the next week.
Cityam.com says Black Friday was introduced to the UK by etailer Amazon in 2010.