Sunday 15 September 2019

'Black Friday' falls flat with sluggish sales despite deals

Pedestrians pass signs for Black Friday deals on Dublin’s Henry Street
Pedestrians pass signs for Black Friday deals on Dublin’s Henry Street
Pedestrians pass signs for Black Friday deals on Dublin’s Henry Street

Mark O'Regan

Ireland's Black Friday was short on fireworks as discounts on electronics, clothing and other seasonal purchases failed to draw big crowds.

It was expected to be one of the biggest spending splurges in the retail year but the predicted in-store scramble for bargains failed to materialise.

While many of the big players in the business enjoyed increased sales, the majority of smaller operators failed to get their slice of early festive spend.

Lynn Drumgoole, from Retail Excellence Ireland, said part of the problem was that many of the discounts on offer simply didn't entice enough customers to part with their cash.

"There was a good bit of activity on the High Street, but overall it didn't generate a massive increase in spending.

"Big items like iPads had €80 off the going price, and other tablets had a €40 reduction. There's real value in that for customers.

"But other smaller value items, which had a 10pc or 20pc price drop, just didn't entice the expected number of customers on Friday.

"However, some of the big stores, such as Harvey Norman, still did well on the day.

"But it should be remembered that this type of outlet would have invested a lot in marketing."

She also said the phenomenon of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, two American imports, may not prove as popular next year.

"I don't see the concept disappearing completely, but I think some retailers will pick and choose what they want to do with it."

Richard Guiney, chief executive of business group DublinTown, said Friday proved "fairly busy".

"The weather wasn't great, which didn't help in terms of overall numbers," he told the Irish Independent.

"The larger stores were advertising beforehand and offered deep discounts, so I wouldn't be surprised if they did that bit better, than the smaller outlets. People were focused on the bargains, and it was quite judicious spending by customers in general.

"Overall, footfall is up and people are definitely spending more, but they're still diligent in what they buy."

Thomas Burke, director of Retail Ireland, insisted it was a "reasonably good" Black Friday for retailers, but businesses with the most "financial muscle" won out.

He pointed out that many retailers also expect a boost in sales from today's Cyber Monday, the online version of Black Friday.

But he warned not enough Irish retailers have an online presence. "The difficulty for them is that it's one of the most underdeveloped areas of their businesses," he added.

Irish Independent

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