'Black Friday', the American retail concept that was introduced to Ireland at the end of November, is "here to stay", Sean Murphy, Deputy Chief Executive of Retail Excellence Ireland has told Retail Intelligence.
Following the busy Christmas period, Retail Intelligence asked Murphy for his opinion on how the inaugural 'Black Friday' may have boosted (or hampered) pre-Christmas sales.
"Black Friday has effectively brought forward the day Christmas starts, so its now the end of November rather than the start of December," he explained. "The big challenge for retailers going forward is to maintain their margin, now that there is an expectation by customers that there will be increased offers on Black Friday."
He added that following last year's event, there will likely be customers "out there waiting in the long grass waiting for a good deal" as next Christmas approaches.
"The sense one gets is that across the board 10, 15 or 20% discounts on everything present a challenge for retailers. But offering a discreet number of discounts can work to retailers' advantage; there is more of an opportunity to sell ancillary stock.
"Black Friday is a new concept, but it suits many retailers. There will be an appetite there for it this year that may not have been here last year - I think everyone has woken up to the fact that it is here to stay."
However, UK-based retail analyst Neil Saunders cast doubt over the effectiveness of the concept in driving additional value sales for retailers. While in the US, Black Friday is an opportunity for retailers to capitalize on thanksgiving spend, "in the UK there is no real sense to it: we don’t have a day off, there is no event before it which provides a spending boost, and UK retailers already discount somewhat in the run up to Christmas.
"As such, the impact is really to pull sales forward rather than to provide a boost. As these sales are made at a discounted rate, there is an obvious impact on margins," he told RI.
© 2014 - Checkout Magazine by Stephen Wynne-Jones