Monday 23 October 2017

US import Black Monday will boost retail sales – but at a cost

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Michael Cogley

Michael Cogley

THERE'S an argument for saying that we, as a nation, are becoming more Americanised year by year, with Black Friday the latest shopping phenomenon to reach the island.

Renowned globally as the day Americans see red in the search of bargains, the 24 hours after Thanksgiving is quickly becoming an Irish day of sales akin to St Stephen's day.

According to new research carried out by e-commerce partner, Webloyalty, and retail research experts, Conlumino, it is expected that Irish people will spend €109m this Black Friday.

The expected spend for the shopping day, which takes place on November 27, would see its value increase by 31pc year on year.

With the day of discounts looming, the latest sales figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) have shown a slowdown in both the volume and value of retail sales.

For the month of August the volume of retail sales fell by 4pc when compared with July of this year while the value of sales fell by 1.7pc when compared with July.

While the figures are showing a decline in retail sales month on month, they are still significantly higher when compared with the same period last year.

The volume of sales in August is up 9.3pc when compared with August of last year and the value of those sales is also up by 5.6pc.

With both Halloween and Christmas still to come in 2015, the year looks to be much improved when compared with last year as 2015 has outpaced 2014 every month both in the value and volume of sales.

According to the survey from Webloyalty, Black Friday looks like it will make a significant contribution to retail sales before the end of the year.

The research says that over half of Irish people will shop on Black Friday, up 7pc from last year. What looks like it will grow at an even faster pace this year will be Cyber Monday.

Cyber Monday is another American shopping phenomenon that sees retailers drastically drop their prices online on the Monday after Black Friday.

Since starting in 2005 the day has grown and spread across the US and now to both the UK and Ireland.

According to Webloyalty, 33pc of Irish people are intending to shop on Cyber Monday.

Here, Cyber Monday has proven to be a little bit different in terms of sales with the emphasis switched to clothes and shoes rather than technology.

The managing director of Webloyalty Northern Europe, Guy Chiswick, warned retailers that they will need to offer large discounts to encourage people to enter their store.

"This is largely down to more people shopping thanks to growing consumer confidence and more spend on big ticket items on that day such as electronic goods," Mr Chiswick said.

"With attractive discounts a key driver of sales on Black Friday, retailers will need to relatively deep discounts or perceived added value to drive footfall in-store on the day," he added.

While it still may pale in comparison here to its American counterpart, Black Friday seems to be becoming a significant milestone in the retail calendar.

Let's just hope the stampedes and the violence doesn't travel across the pond.

In the US, the phenomenon has shown the darker side of human nature with reports of shootings, policemen being injured and people being slashed all becoming a common occurrence during the discounter 24-hour period.

Irish Independent

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