Ex­perts fear ‘sales fa­tigue’ will hit Black Fri­day prof­its

The Mail on Sunday - - News - By Neil Craven

SHOP­PERS are set to turn their backs on the an­nual Black Fri­day sales frenzy as re­tail­ers suc­cumb early to heavy win­ter dis­counts.

Ex­perts said con­sumers are be­com­ing ‘in­ured’ to high street sales amid con­stant price cuts and the squeeze on in­comes. Black Fri­day – be­ing la­belled by some as ‘Slack Fri­day’ – will take place on Novem­ber 24, but high street chains are al­ready slash­ing prices.

‘ We’re an­tic­i­pat­ing a fall in shop­per num­bers and that would be the first time since Black Fri­day took off in 2013 that has hap­pened,’ said Diane Wehrle, a di­rec­tor at Spring­board, which tracks vis­its to thou­sands of shops across the UK.

‘Quite a lot of stock is now be­ing dis­counted all the time – so why wait un­til Black Fri­day?’ she said. ‘There has been a lot of dis­count­ing al­ready. Peo­ple are very con­scious of that and that takes the edge off Black Fri­day, dis­si­pat­ing the ef­fect.’

She added that low wage rises, last week’s in­ter­est rate in­crease and the higher cost of im­ports were also hav­ing an im­pact.

‘Re­tail sales fell last month and the signs are that peo­ple are pulling back,’ she said. ‘Talk of at least one or maybe two in­ter­est rate rises on the hori­zon has made some peo­ple ner­vous.’ Her com­pany ex­pects the num­ber of shop­pers on Novem­ber 24 to fall 0.6 per cent this year.

This week­end Deben­hams was ad­ver­tis­ing a 30 per cent off Win­ter Event, Gap is of­fer­ing up to 40 per cent and Argos has a 20 per cent off ‘Flash Sale’ un­til Tues­day.

Re­tail ex­pert Richard Hy­man said: ‘ We’ve be­come in­ured to see­ing sale signs. It’s be­come the norm to walk down the high street and see most of it on sale. Some re­tail­ers are do­ing okay but most of them are really strug­gling.

‘ By Black Fri­day, most of UK re­tail will be on per­ma­nent sale to some de­gree right through to the end of Jan­uary.’

‘We’re an­tic­i­pat­ing a fall in shop­per num­bers’

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