Experts fear ‘sales fatigue’ will hit Black Friday profits
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’