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Independents to boycott Black Friday

By Danielle Wightman-Stone

23 Nov 2021

Retail

Image: FashionUnited

The British Independent Retailers Association (Bira) said that the majority of its members will not be slashing prices within their stores this Black Friday.

The industry body, which works with more than 6,000 independent businesses, said that 85 percent of its independents will be boycotting Black Friday Sales this year, a figure the Bira adds is “higher than ever before”.

Bira chief executive Andrew Goodacre, said in a statement: “Christmas is going to be an incredibly important season for independent retailers. The retail sales data for October showed a promising increase with online sales falling to 27 percent of total sales. This trend indicates that shoppers have returned to shopping on the high street as they start to prepare for the festive period.

“Despite these positive indicators, we remain concerned about rising costs for the smaller retailers and the problems in the supply chain that are impeding the independent retailers ability to meet consumer demand. This current trading period is the most important one for retail, and we need stronger sales in November and December to help retailers take on the many challenges that await them in 2022.”

Bira explained that its members have never seen much value in the promotional period of Black Friday because they either don’t agree with the idea or due to the fact they have insufficient volume to make large discounting work. Plus this year, the industry body said that independents have also been experiencing supply chain issues, which is proving “to be a real challenge”.

Goodacre added: “The pandemic has been very difficult for those retailers classed as non-essential. In the past 18 months, they have suffered three lockdowns, weeks of restrictive regulations and are now just starting to build back their business.

“At the start of the pandemic, we saw customers turn to on-line providers because there was no other choice, and the large companies such as Amazon were the big winners. Whilst we, in some ways, admire what Amazon does, the pandemic simply highlighted the unfair playing field between high street shops and online retailers.”